It is the year 2012. As mentioned by the Health Minister a few days ago, Malaysia is producing 3500 doctors per year. This is aiming at getting a ratio of 1 doctor for every 400 Malaysians by 2020. "WoW!! So many doctors!"
And yet, the mentality of many people has not change. Tonite, I have loss a patient. Not to disease nor death, but to the expertise of 'Bomoh'. This patient of mine has a fractured tibia and fibula (patah tulang kering/shin bone) at the distal end region, about 3cm from the ankle joint. It's swollen and deformed, and this patient of mine is only 14 years old. I'm planning to fix him up tomorrow. His name is already in the operation list.
My medical officer (MO) has explained everything, all the possible complications that may occur if it is not fixed properly - malalignment (senget), shortening (pendek), instability and chronic pain etc....and yet, his FATHER said:
"Nope, we want to try bomoh first!"
Okeyy...fine by me... "discharge!"
I'm sure 3 months from now, or maybe earlier, he will come back. He will come back to my clinic, alone. His father will not accompany him to my room.
Last month I had a 20 year old man came to my clinic 9 months post trauma with a fractured femur (his thigh bone). He came limping to my room, accompanied with his mum. His femur has already united with 5cm shortening.
"Doktor, tolong lah panjangkan balik kaki anak saya ni doktor...boleh tak doktor?" His mother plead.
"Kenapa makcik balik dulu? Kenapa pergi bomoh?" I asked nicely.
"Ayah dia la doktor, nak bawak jugak. Masa tu mmg doktor dah cakap, kena masuk besi kalau patah macam ni. Saya tak boleh kata apa la doktor, itu ayah dia"
His father was at home. So scared to come...shame on him. And I just go bla, bla, bla....for 10 minutes...
I don't mind if all patients go to bomoh, and all of them recovered well. Can walk normally, can function back into the society. The problem is that, when the damage is done, these patients come back to us for correction of the deformity. "Cisss!"
It will be messy and bloody if we wanna correct a malunited fracture.
400% more difficult and time consuming. "I dont want to do it, ask the
bomoh to correct it for you!"
Last week, 3 patients came to my clinic with their cast (Semen/plaster) already removed by bomoh.
"Doktor, tolong buat xray doktor. Bomoh suruh buat xray nak tengok patah dah baik ke belum". Bomoh suruh doktor buat xray?? Banyak cantik muka kau, kitaorg bagi treatment, korang buang, pergi bomoh, pastu datang sini nak xray sbb bomoh mintak xray...
"Kalau betul bomoh tu terer pakcik, dia mesti nampak patah tu macamana dah keadaannya! Tak pun suruh la dia xray sendiri!" Kadang2 aku sindir jugak patient2 ni...kui kui..
All the 3 patients' fractured bones angulated....senget la tu maksudnya.
It is so sad that the mentality of our people is still like this despite out medical advances. We have educate them during their stay with us. But still, a small percentage of our patients still believe in bomoh, more than us.
What is the SECRET OF BOMOH that our people trust them so much???
It is we do not explain enough?
Is it the infection that scare them?
It is the implant (metal/besi)?
Our people keep asking, "nanti petir ke, kilat ke, tak bahaya ke doktor? Nanti kilat tu sambar besi kat kaki anak makcik ni" Adoi!! Jawapan aku senang aje..."Makcik, cuba makcik pergi tanya sedara2 org2 yg mati kena panah petir tu, kat dalam kaki atau tangan diaorg ada tak besi!!"
I bet, 90% of these victims were metal-free. Just a bet.
What say you?