Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 10, 2007

Medical tourists claim RTD treated them like criminals

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:55 am

Sun2Surf: PENANG (May 9, 2007): Two years ago, cancer patient Manahara Siahaan(pix) , 75, of Medan arrived at Penang International Airport in a wheelchair.
When he attempted to board an airport limousine to get to the hospital he was supposed to go for his treatment, the driver refused to take him.
Manahara, a businessman diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 1998, then contacted the hospital which sent a van to pick him up.
He was among those who were in a hospital van yesterday which was stopped and detained by Road Transport Department (RTD) personnel at the airport.
“I have been coming here every three weeks over the past five years for my treatment at Mount Miriam Hospital and also Penang Adventist Hospital,” he said.
“Each time, I stay for at least five days at a hotel, and spend between RM5,000 and RM6,000.
“Patients like me need professional assistance and the van drivers know how to handle us as we come here often.
“This is something the limousine drivers cannot provide. We would not mind paying them but they cannot assist us medically.
“I also know of others arriving from Medan including those with diabetic problems, whom the limousine drivers have refused to ferry.
“All of us have been coming to Penang because right from the word go, from the time we seek treatment at the Adventist Hospital in Medan until we come here, the service provided is impeccable,” said Manahara, who in 2004 was told by doctors he had six months to live but yesterday was given the all-clear sign.
Another patient Anna Flora Hutabarat (pix), 57, the sister of Rumondang Hutajulu, 63, who complained to theSun about yesterday’s incident, said she and the rest of the group were fasting prior to their medical checkup and were upset when they were made to wait for half an hour in the scorching heat before they were allowed to leave.
Anna has been coming here for the past four years for her kidney ailment while Rumondang underwent kidney surgery in the hospital today.
“I even told the RTD officer this fact, that we were fasting, and all we wanted to do was to get to the hospital for our check-ups, but he accused us of coming here for a holiday, as we all looked well enough to him as we were wearing make-up.
“We come here because of the service, and the cost of treatment is much cheaper than what is offered in Singapore and other neighbouring countries.
“The last thing we expected is to be treated like criminals,” she told theSun in an interview.
Another patient Dina Noviarity (pix), 45, who accompanied her father Pak Kadir, 76, who had fluid in his lungs said she has been making trips to the hospital for the past four years.
“Even my mother underwent a heart operation in the hospital last year and we spend a lot of money. This incident leaves a very bad taste in our mouth.
“We do not know if we would still want to come back for our medical checkups in future after this,” she added.

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