NUH staff lacked compassion

A nurse walks past the National University Hospital sign on Sep 25, 2018.
A nurse walks past the National University Hospital sign on Sep 25, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

As a regular patient at the National University Hospital (NUH) for many years, a recent service lapse at Diagnostic Imaging @ NUH Medical Centre stood out to me.

I was there for an ultrasound procedure, and was duly informed ahead of time by text message that prior fasting was required and I would need to skip breakfast.

Another elderly man came in for a diagnostic procedure around the same time, but was informed by the counter staff that his appointment was for the following day.

The man could not believe that he had got the appointment wrong, as he had also fasted prior to arrival for the blood-taking and procedure itself.

He stood by the counter and waited for a response.

A second staff member told the man to wait, and later informed him, again, that his appointment was for the following day, without acknowledging that any mistake had been made by NUH.

A third staff member eventually arrived and tried to call for a doctor to attend to the procedure, but to no avail.

It appeared to me that a mistake had been made regarding the elderly man's appointment date, but he still had to leave, disappointed, with his efforts to fast going to waste and needing to be repeated the following day.

Where was the compassion for that elderly man? At no point did I hear any of the service staff say they were sorry.

I wonder whether the service staff attending to patients have been properly trained to understand and adhere to NUH's values.

Leong Sai Fan (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2019, with the headline 'NUH staff lacked compassion'. Print Edition | Subscribe