The MMA responds to the Star article on “unethical doctors”


from the MMA Facebook page

This statement has been sent to the Star in response to an article in ” Beware of Unethical Doctors” which appeared 26.7.13

Re : BEWARE OF UNETHICAL DOCTORS dated 26.7.13 in Star Metro Section page 14

The above un-researched article quoting hearsay evidence based on personal experience of a third party is a grossly unfair and a misleading article which may cause confusion amongst the Star’s readers.

Nowadays , Down’s Syndrome tests are done on 1000s of patients and most tests are negative. But it has to be done in all high risk cases or when indicated to rule out Down’s Syndrome. A child with Down’s Syndrome can have devastating effects on the family. There are many simple tests done as screening tests . More tests are done to confirm the screening tests if the screening tests proves to be inclusive or positive . Even these confirmatory tests sometimes are not conclusive and there may be a need to do more invasive tests like an amniocentesis..

It does not mean a test to confirm a disease must be positive. Doctors do tests to rule out many diseases and even if almost a certain diagnosis is made a test is done to confirm the diagnosis.
A Pap smear is done on all married women and those who are sexually active ,Doctors will advise a Pap smear and 90% of the time these tests are negative. Does that mean the doctor has done a test to “ cheat “ you . It is done to rule out cancer.

Such articles as above may create confusion and doubts amongst patients , and may prevent the early diagnosis of many diseases including cancers , communicable and non-communicable diseases , and congenital abnormalities in pregnant mothers.,
Private doctors – GPs – do not depend on laboratory tests for income as these are done by third parties – accredited laboratories. The GPs charge what the labs charge and these are strictly controlled by the Ministry of Health . Doctors always inform patients if a test is to be done and why the need to do so. It is only done with the permission of the patient.

As regards , appendicitis , it is a well known fact that even strongly symptomatic appendicitis will prove not to be so on surgery . The signs can be deceptive . Seeing another doctors after a few hours when the symptoms have subsided may give another picture for the doctor and thus a different conclusion.

In both cases referred to by the writer , if it the mother had a Down’s baby and if the patient had a perforated appendicitis , they would have sued the doctor for millions .Relating a story on hindsight is easy in the comfort of a chair

Anyway , these are common occurrences in the practice of medicine .However , If the patient felt ‘ cheated ‘ the patients could have complained to the Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Medical Council would have taken punitive action if the allegations were proven . The MMA would have supported such a decision . The above two cases as reported by the author , would have had no case to answer .

The entire efforts of the Ministry of Health and doctors may come to an abrupt halt by such sensational, unwarranted, alarming articles in a credible mainstream Newspaper like the Star. .


Malaysian physician, haematologist, blogger, web and tech enthusiast

Posted in - Ethics, - Nation