In the recent news, an anaesthesiologist met with an accident which took her life when her car hit a tree while travelling back home post oncall. It is understood that she worked the whole of the previous night and went on til 3pm the next day. She worked in Hospital Sungai Buloh. I've been there for a HIV clinic visit before and it's located near the suburbs and surrounded by highways. or something like that, i cant remember. But I do know, to get to a residential area nearby you have to drive through quite a distance. and for whoever that's exhausted, falling asleep behind the wheel is possible.
This news had quite an impact for me because my husband is a doctor, a few years senior than she is, and had been through the torturous oncalls when he was a houseman. Before the houseman work shifts were implemented, they had to do oncall and continue working the next day, up to 5pm. if work is not completed, they can go up to 8pm even. He will come home and sleep through til the next morning, where he had to wake up as early as 6am to make it to the 7.30pm pre ward rounds.
So doesn't that sound torturous to you? it's torturous to the doctor, and also to the family members who lent their loved ones to the public. I am sure Allah knows best, and posted him somewhere oncalls are exactly what it is- On Calls (as in, telephone). That also, they have only 1 day of the weekend to spend with the family and the rest of the days, work work work. Better than oncalls, I guess. Sometimes I question the balance of working time in our Ministry of Health. There are people who has to work extra extra hours (in the hospitals) and there are people who works only 8-5pm and nothing more (headquarters) and yet get the same pay. They do have extra allowances for oncalls and working weekends, but these shifts arent optional. wajibbb. You better hope the ones working 24hours have THE exact passion the top guns expected. Because judging by the looks of doctors when I work in the wards last time, the real world really isn't all Grey's Anatomy. 24hours happily working in the OT, marry their colleagues and have sex in the hospitals like it's their home. nope. You only see exhausted looking doctors who lost their friendliness with shabby looking Doraemon pocket labcoats...and then you see stylo fresh looking pharmacists following their rounds (cuz our shifts are obviously better.hehe). hm. no wonder doctors and pharmacists aren't the best of friends:)
As a doctor, my husband has begun to have his worries of not furthering his study to become some kind of specialist, and by staying at where he is right now won't actually get him anywhere much. He was weighing family time, money and studies. Then his ideas started hovering on....paediatrics, then oncology, then maybe pathology? and then I started worrying about oncalls again, and the ridiculous hours of working again.
At exactly 5pm everyday my children will run to the windows to look outside while calling daddy, daddy, daddy......and because he does locum every alternate days, sometimes their calls are never answered till they go to bed that night. It already hurts now, what happens if he has to work more than now?:( It really is not fair to hold him back from specialising or transferring, so I'm just going to keep quiet, and have some faith that everything has been planned for us, for the good, or bad, and pray hard it's never for the worst.
I am honestly barely surviving on my part time pay at the moment, that i am trying to mentally prepare myself to go back into the working world, at any given time. Times are hard for everyone financially, thanks to all these changes in our country and for those who think having doctor spouses make your financial life so much better....it's really not. private doctors, maybe. government doctors, they just get overworked with a pay which is almost as equal as pharmacists but we have better hours and more people to voice out our rights. For now, i cannot imagine sending Tia and Riz to daycare and not seeing them for the entire day. and I cant imagine them not only having 1 parent to miss at the end of the day, but both parents. Can't do that to them. I grew up having one present parent all the time and another who comes back every evening and spends the weekend with the family. I have to be the one at home, no matter how bored i get with the kids and likewise. unless my husband works 8-5pm, then perhaps, okay, i'll go back to work.
Of course, there are people whose husbands are pilots and offshore engineers. My heart goes out to them and to their families as well. Life is not easy peasy, not as easy as we thought it would when we were teens and in love. There's so much more in life and so much worries and considerations. But what I do know for now is that the ministry needs to look into the doctors' working time to match the so called Employment Act. There are so many accidents, reported and unreported. the big ones which involves death made it through the media. but small ones like for example when a doctor hit the back of my colleague's car at Jalan Pahang roundabout last time and he claimed that he was too sleepy postcall? they don't get reported. It's true that they chose this profession for the good of other people, but their their rights as a human, as someone's father, someone's mother, someone's son or daughter are not taken care of very well.
I was a pharmacist, and we don't usually defend doctors. but my husband is one, and so I'm voicing out as a doctor's wife and for the benefit of our family (p/s...pharmacists schedules are still more organised than doctors. hehe).
For now lets hope for the best for our own families, and for this country too. lets not get there, but lets just all have faith yeah? sorry for the lengthy post!