Hospitals from Hell

Feb 8th, 2010, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

How some Indonesian hospitals treat complaints & the poor, kidnapping & false imprisonment.


Hospitals From Hell

Far be it from me to talk about Omni Hospital, which found Prita's criticism too much to bear, but yesterday's news story from Medan made me sit up and take notice. The case is sub judice so I won't say who is in the wrong but it is very odd. If the journalists did not lock themselves in the room, who did? Whoever it was should be put behind bars, and not just the minions but the arrogant clowns who ordered it.

Journalists locked up in room by hospital

Five journalists were locked up in a room on Saturday by Adam Malik Hospital, Medan for ten minutes after they attempted to report a malpractice allegation against the hospital. Kompas.com reported the journalists met a woman who accused the hospital of committing surgical malpractice against her 4 month old baby. They went along with the woman to get a proper response from the hospital, but the hospital tried to stop them from reporting the story and locked them up in a room. The journalists later reported the hospital to police.

This is downright weird. Several journalists were thus captured, so were they lured into a room, then the key turned, or were they set upon and frog-marched into captivity? My attention was caught by a tv report, but by the time I got sat in front of the news, the report was almost over, only an arrogant-looking fellow in a white coat ranting and a doctor saying it couldn't possibly be the medics' fault.

I am lucky I don't have to attend hospital often, and when I do, I have found one where patients are normally treated both courteously and successfully. However.

We are all aware of the genuinely evil people who run many of Indonesia's hospitals and many of you are probably as astounded as I am that there have no been mass arrests in the past.
I could refer to previous reports of wide-spread malpractice, of course, and mealy-mouthed swine in white coats covering up for each other.

But it's not just simple malpractice.

I am more immediately concerned with the sort of Stalinoid brutes who hold babies hostage, demanding payment of unpayable bills. There can be no legitimate grounds for this professional kidnapping, even less when the unransomed babies are charged for accommodation during the period they are held captive. The police should wade in and handcuff the doctors, nurses and staff complicit in these outrages, since such unprofessional and inhumane people deserve incarceration much more than the babies.

And what about hospitals who try to charge penniless people for sending their dead kinfolk home for the funeral. Remember that one? And the rest.

Almost every week we hear about hospitals charging the poor who shouldn't be charged, and the second-rate treatment you get if you lack funds.

It was in 2008 that the Legal Aid Institute for Health (LBH Kesehatan)

called on the police to immediately resolve more than 1 hundred reported cases of medical malpractice

and

questioned a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the West Java Police and the Indonesian Doctors Association's West Java chapter

for 'cooperation' in cases of alleged malpractice.

As the spokesman for LBH K said at the time,

the MoU shows that there is protection for crimes and doctors accused of malpractice.

How many of these cases have been resolved, and how many doctors have gone to prison? Or has every case resulted in exoneration of the wonderful caring profession?


22 Comments on “Hospitals from Hell”

  1. avatar Burung Koel says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Much as I deplore ‘foot in the door’ journalism, sometimes the tabloid TV channels and press fight for causes that need fighting for.

    Given your obvious desire for health reform, Ross, I take it you also support President Obama’s new health care policies?

  2. avatar Ross says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    The journalists reported the case to the Medan City Police, having discussed the incident with a number of media organizations, which pointed out that the hospital had clearly violated existing laws, including those governing freedom of the press and barring intimidation.

    Ahmad, who left the hospital before the other reporters were detained, said that Al Amin, a journalist called Reza from Medan’s Post Metro daily and Ahmad Effendi, a stringer for the ANTV TV station, told him they had been blasted by a doctor, before being locked up.

    Then two latecomers, Wahyu Maulana from TV station SCTV and Edi Ginting from the Trans 7 TV station, were questioned before they were forced to “erase” all the camera footage they had taken at the hospital, he said.

    The Globe has given a much fuller account than what I got yesterday. Here’s an extract.
    “They forced us to not air or publish anything,” Ahmad said, adding that the journalists had reached a conclusion — the hospital definitely had something to hide.
    Hospital spokesman Atma Wijaya said the journalists did not have permission to enter Ananda’s room and take footage.
    “The doctor was freaked out, then he asked for a talk, so it was clearly not a lock-up situation,” he said. “The doctor was trying to provide explanation on the baby’s condition.”
    ————So were they locked up or not?

    He acknowledged that the hospital had demanded that the journalists erase their camera footage. The hospital had not intended to intimidate journalists, Atma said, adding that he hoped the case would be resolved amicably.
    ————————
    So demanding the erasure of their material is not intimidation? Atma, let’s hope the issue is resolved usefully. Let the doctor/staff concerned be brought to justice. The ball is the police’s court.

    ——————-
    Burung Koel.
    Obama’s health care is a gigantic scam intended to expand state control.
    The man is a menace; did you see how his racist admin is dropping the charges against the New Black Panthers who used night-sticks to stop voters opposed to Obama in the last presidential election. Or how he’s pushing a pedophile champion to run his ‘equal opps’ board? God save America.

  3. avatar BrotherMouzone says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    @ Ross

    Obama’s health care is a gigantic scam intended to expand state control.

    So, judging by your article, you’ve noticed that capitalism and healthcare make poor bedfellows. But you refuse to take that thought to it’s natural conclusion – Government-run healthcare.

    What exactly is your solution?

    Hospitals here (and in the US) are businesses and they behave like businesses. They are going to try to push down costs and increase margins and they are going to aggressively pursue debts. That’s what businesses do.

  4. avatar Ross says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Marxism and healthcare too have their bed-fellow problems. Look at the Castro dictatorship, where excellent facilities exist for the ruling class but most Cubans get primitive treatment.
    A basic safety net is what’s required, but please save this argument for a separate thread. I’d like to get feedback on the wickedness of hospitals here. Surely that can keep us busy for a while.
    Perhaps we could open up a USA debate when Obama is due to admire his tuyul look-alike statue next month.
    Or organise an IM Tea party?

  5. avatar ET says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I think it’s basically okay for hospitals and health care to be private enterprises and to be conducted like businesses. It guarantees competition and high quality standards. But to ensure equality in medical treatment and to guarantee a fair and socially justifiable remuneration of services there should be governmental control mechanisms and eventually subsidizing in cases when or where circumstances do not permit a cost effective management.

  6. avatar BrotherMouzone says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    @ Ross

    A basic safety net is what’s required, but please save this argument for a separate thread. I’d like to get feedback on the wickedness of hospitals here.

    And what form would this “basic safety net” take? Who would administer it? Who would pay for it? How would we make sure that the poor received a similar standard of care to the rich? You rail against;

    Stalinoid brutes who hold babies hostage, demanding payment of unpayable bills

    hospitals who try to charge penniless people for sending their dead kinfolk home for the funeral

    hospitals charging the poor who shouldn’t be charged, and the second-rate treatment you get if you lack funds

    But you refuse the only effective solution – centralized universal healthcare.

    @ET

    I think it’s basically okay for hospitals and health care to be private enterprises and to be conducted like businesses. It guarantees competition and high quality standards.

    In what country? Name me one (in a country with a decent sized population).

  7. avatar ET says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    In what country? Name me one (in a country with a decent sized population).

    France, to name only one.

  8. avatar BrotherMouzone says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    @ET

    France, to name only one.

    Mon Dieu. In France, the government sets the price of healthcare, negotiates purchasing of medicines, decides which products will be offered, negotiates doctor’s reimbursement, and oversees the insurance funds.

    That isn’t a business model, it’s a government-run universal healthcare system with a few token free-market variables (you can pay more for different doctors or additional services).

    So again, name me one country (with a decent sized population) where healthcare is successfully run as a business. I could well be wrong but I don’t know of a single one.

  9. avatar ET says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    @ BM

    Read my comment carefully and don’t put meanings in my mouth or keyboard that weren’t there. I said

    I think it’s basically okay for hospitals and health care to be private enterprises and to be conducted like businesses. It guarantees competition and high quality standards. But to ensure equality in medical treatment and to guarantee a fair and socially justifiable remuneration of services there should be governmental control mechanisms and eventually subsidizing in cases when or where circumstances do not permit a cost effective management.

    Just like any other business, health care nowadays is also subject to state control mechanisms. Laissez faire laissez passer is a thing from the past but this doesn’t mean that every human activity has or should become entirely dependent on regulations imposed by the political class with their own motivations. Because especially in the case of health care with its many moral implications it is clear to what kind of situations this could lead. This is why in countries like France one still has a choice by whom and where to receive medical attention.

  10. avatar Ross says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Aaah, well, off we go. I had hoped this topic might pin-point useful examples of malpractice, medical and financial and civic, in Indonesian hospitals.

    There was just last week, a flurry of news about some hospital charging poor folk who were not supposed to be charged. That is not some grand debate about universal health care under state or private auspices, simply a focus, a realistic focus, on what we can and should do with the current problems here in Indonesia.

    But if you guys want to revisit the NHS or Medicare and get into that, fine by me.
    I’ll go away and have a good rail about some other INDONESIAN issues.

  11. avatar Odinius says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Private health care can work pretty well…just not the US version of it. In Switzerland, health care is a not-for-profit industry, like private schools and universities in the US.

    In France, which apparently has the best health system in the world according to the WHO, they have both private and public insurers, and keep costs down by limiting charges and also limiting malpractice damages.

    That works in France, but this story makes me think that Indonesian hospitals need a greater threat of malpractice lawsuits…

  12. avatar madrotter says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    my dear friend laurie from scotland came to indonesia to work as an english teacher. she was a big strong woman, she could drink anybody under the table and she was an incredible party animal. also she was very much loved by her students… then she got this pain in her belly. in one of the bigger hospitals in bandung they told her, you have an ovarian cyste and you need an operation. she later found out the operation wasn’t needed at all it could’ve been dome just with medicines. but she was still pretty new here and she trusted what the doctor said. this f*cker operated on her, cut some vain in her belly and didnt notice and left for church. meanwhile she was bleeding to death inside and she only survived because a nurse saw her slipping away. after this she was a feeble skinny and always sickly woman and she was told by a lawyer that in any civilised country (sorry but i get angry thinking about this) she could’ve sued and never would have to work again. laurie died almost two years ago on her 42nd birtday. she would be alive today if that worthless imbecile moneygrabbing f*ckface that calls himself a doctor would’ve done his goddamn job… really hundreds of people came to her funeral, a really big motorcade from the local bikers club through bandung up to dago where they burried her…

    my buddy tim from kenya was caught with weed. we warned him so many times, tim this isn’t europe man, you get caught you gonna get really f*cked up by the cops, specially cause you’re a black dude and the cops here hate blacks. well, tim got caught and he was forced to pay. normally thats the end of the story but they kept coming back to tim for money till he was broke. when they came back again for money and he didnt have it they told him, now you will be an informer for us. tim refused flat out so they forced him to drink from a bottle and left. he got violently sick right away, heavy stomach cramps and he went to the same damn hospital that my friend laurie went. there they told him, vertigo and gave him pills. he came back home and got sicker and sicker went back to the hospital. there he went blind first then paralyzed and then slipped into a coma. those imbeciles waited 24 hours before giving him oxygene so his brain was all f*cked up… his parents, the mom the boss of a company that does all the catering for the un in africa and his pops who build nairobi airport, pretty rich people came. his sister came from amerika. they came just in time to see their son and brother go flatline and die. i was there too. the doctors refused to talk to tims family. a nurse came and demanded they take his body from the hospital, a body they already had pumped chock full of formaldehyde so forget about an autopsy. and ofcourse a crazy big bill. they also gave his parents a deathcertificate that stated that tim had died of aids… i helped carry tim out of that place. tim just had a beautiful baby son, he was 29 years old and strong as a bull…

    i’m not saying all doctors here are crooks, you meet some wonderful doctors here who go out of their way to help you but these rats make me puke…

  13. avatar Odinius says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    That’s a f**ked up story, madrotter.

    I think the problem, with regards to Indonesia’s health system, is that there are not adequate regulations for the health industry, and the mechanisms through which health workers and institutions are held accountable are either missing or broken.

    As much as I hate the malpractice litigation culture in the US, which is incredibly excessive, I think hospitals in Indonesia do need to understand that they will be held accountable for their misdeeds, and that either has to come from criminal law or civil law.

  14. avatar Burung Koel says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Those are terrible case histories, madrotter.

    Here’s a summary of a World Bank report into the Indonesian health care system. It identifies some of the major problems and comes up with a list of recommendations. There’s links to the whole report. This is necessarily an overview, and thus the conclusions it draws are very general. Improving accountability is mentioned briefly, and I don’t think it covers the recent changes to Jamkesmas.

    Sorry for the slight derail, as I know the thread is concerning itself with issues of medical malpractice and lack of accountability by institutions like hospitals.

  15. avatar Odinius says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 4:09 am

    The thing is, there are a lot of dedicated, hard-working doctors in Indonesia, and many hospitals that provide very good value, considering how costly health care can be elsewhere. These kinds of institutions and people get overshadowed by crooked hospitals and doctors, which is a shame.

  16. avatar BrotherMouzone says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    @Ross

    That is not some grand debate about universal health care under state or private auspices, simply a focus, a realistic focus, on what we can and should do with the current problems here in Indonesia.

    But if you guys want to revisit the NHS or Medicare and get into that, fine by me.
    I’ll go away and have a good rail about some other INDONESIAN issues.

    And how exactly do we discuss healthcare in Indonesia without discussing the role of capitalism and government control?

    Perhaps you could provide us with a list of topics we are allowed to discuss in the thread and a handy list of no-go areas.

  17. avatar Ross says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Thanks, madrotter, for bringing this back. Horror indeed. I have a few incidents I can recount, but not till I do a day’s work. And yes, Odinius, I know some very good, kind and admirable docs. They deserve mention.

  18. avatar Ross says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    BrotherMouzone, you are allowed to discuss anything you like.
    I simply prefer to keep it on track re local hospitals. No doubt it will fly off at tangents, which can also be fun.
    However, on opening the JP today, it seems the regime has noticed our posts and is going to act to facilitate access to healthcare for those who need it. I’ll study the report and come back tonight.

  19. avatar ET says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Personally I have never heard of any medical or financial malpractice in the local Balinese public healthcare system. For minor ailments people call on the local puskesmas and more serious cases are usually treated in the big hospital of Sanglah, Denpasar, which as it seems has had a major overhaul due to the attention it got after the bombings in Kuta. But of course Bali is also a place where civilization already has had a chance to take root.

    For those financially better off there is a network of private hospitals, in many cases run by expat services.

    In the rare cases that I personally needed medical attention I have always been treated adequate and fair although sometimes with the odd Indonesian accent like in the case when after a road accident in some remote place I needed stitching and the operating table was surrounded by kids, all curiously watching the proceedings.

  20. avatar Ross says:
    February 9th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Well, the JP report, for those who haven’t read it, covered the very issues I am concerned with, the failure of the existing safety net due to the sort of medics madrotter was talking about, two ladies from Tangerang being specified as cases, one with her Jamsie document who got charge a huge sum, fifty per cent of the ‘true’ rate, when she shoulda got free treatment, and another who was told she had to be hospitalised first then assessed for financial liability, tho the hospital told her omniously to consult her family first, which presumably means have them handy to pay up.

    My first visit to a large ‘for locals’ hospital alarmed me, a huge crowd of folks sitting around the vestibule of the ward. I thought they were beggars, but was quickly advised they were kin waiting to have a whip-round each time medication was needed.

    A bule I knew had a motorbike accident and they fixed his foot for 20 million, except that it was facing out instead of forwards. They told him they could re-align it, for another 20 mill. He went back to the Antipodes, where they really fixed it, tho it was hard work.

    And the JP also touched on the way a large minority of hospitals refuse to let patients free until the bill is paid. Is that not wrongful arrest or kidnapping?

    Ya, if we have funds, we can find decent treatment as a rule, but those who are without get a raw deal, too often.
    emN

  21. avatar Ross says:
    February 10th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Please not my typo in the above post was accidental, meant to be ‘ominously’ not a snide reference to ‘omni.’

  22. avatar Ghadoshki says:
    July 24th, 2010 at 1:09 am

    In Indonisia from 1994 to 2001, there are 8 hospital built every month, what is the most problem in this??

    thanks,
    G



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