The movement’s spokesperson questioned whether MMA thought it is alright for senior doctors and hospital staff to “mildly” or just “moderately” bully junior doctors.
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The Hartal Doktor Kontrak (HDK) express disappointment over the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) statement’s claiming that there were only a few cases of serious bullying involving junior doctors.
This, according to the group representative, shows that MMA was out of touch with reality.
HDK spokesperson, who wished to be known only as Dr Syed, said that it was perplexing why MMA would mention only “severe cases”, questioning whether it is permissible to abuse junior doctors as long as it wasn’t done severely.
“What about the not-so-severe cases? Does the health ministry allow mild to moderate bullying of house officers? If so, what are the cut-off points that separate mild, moderate and severe cases of bullying?
“Saying only a handful are bullied greatly downplays the problem and invalidates other people’s trauma. For example, within this week, we had four reports of sexual abuse and assault by the infamous Dr S and accounts of abuse posted on Twitter,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
He was commenting on MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai’s statement claiming that there are only a handful of serious bullying cases experienced by housemen and trainee doctors in the country.
He states that the recent reports on bullying cases have “misconstrued the reality of the situation”, adding that “harsh words” from seniors against juniors were expected during training, due to the stressful nature of the job and to ensure competency among the trainee doctors.
Dr Koh also appeared to fault the media for fanning the issue, claiming that media outfits had been reporting on the same cases of bullying as they are only a handful of severe cases that would catch the public’s attention.
In his response, Dr Syed said that MMA’s stand on the issue showed that it viewed the abuse suffered by trainee doctors to be non-existent which would only expose the junior doctors to more abusive acts.
He also said that those who lodge reports against their bullies will be mocked and branded as ‘kaki report’, adding that investigation on bully cases should be carried out by an independent committee to safeguard the whistleblower’s identity.
On 17 April, a medical houseman, who had just begun his houseman-ship at the Penang Hospital died after falling from a building along Jalan Datuk Keramat. He had been stationed at the Penang Hospital since 4 April.
Two years ago, another doctor died soon after resigning from the same hospital.
Several former and current housemen at the Penang Hospital had also spoken about the toxic work conditions there.