Letter to Editor: Is Klinik Ortopedik in HKL taking liberty with working hours on Fridays?

The Klinik Ortopedik in Hospital Kuala Lumpur says its working hours are from 8am to 4pm but it stops taking patients even with appointments at 11 am.

The Klinik Ortopedik in Hospital Kuala Lumpur on the internet says its working hours are from 8 am to 4pm. When it gives appointments to people it gives a general 8am on all its cards. No where in the card does it say that it will stop giving numbers after 11am to people with appointment.

I had the misfortune of discovering this only when I was told very rudely and derisively and repeatedly to read the information pasted at the counter by a staff when I turned up at 11.30am for a much-anticipated appointment on the Friday of April 19. Despite my pleas and attempts to explain, he continued to deride me for not knowing such a rule.

It is a Friday, he kept saying and said even the doctor who was in charge for the day and standing next to him would agree. The doctor standing next to him then promptly agreed with him and said that he cannot possibly see me as I had turned up 11.30 am. The clinic looked pretty empty except for few patients, and I continued to plead with the doctor, saying that I could wait even till they re-open at 2.30pm. This was met with further derision. “Our clinic does not operate in the afternoons.” All will be out on ward rounds. This was certainly new. Is that the case? And why is it so? Why then does it says it is open till 4pm? I understand Friday prayers and so on and was willing to wait way past 2.30pm, so why the inflexibility, especially on Fridays as the counter person said.

I was told that one doctor will be in the clinic from 2.30 pm but he basically looked into giving out appointments only.

They told me to come back another day, despite me pointing out that I had to spend quite a bit to travel to HKL and that I would have accepted it if I had turned up later than 11.30 am or 12 noon. I explained that I had even taken an xray, which indicated that the fracture was closed. I was reallly hoping to see the doctor and maybe check on if therapy will help as the pain in my fractured arm was still there. I still feared using my right hand. They just seemed bent on packing up and closing shop. It gave no consideration to my age, the fact that I waited out for weeks for the appointment, the cost involved and the ongoing physical pain.

There was no sympathy even when I repeatedly said sorry for being a little late and that the cost of travelling again will be high and sought for some flexibility. The rigidity displayed by the counter person and doctor was inhumane. One nurse said that they would have to go and look for files. But when people have appointments, their files should be there right. Is that a very complicated process? Only the Sister in charge made some attempts to talk to the doctor, who had from the beginning taken the cue from the counter person and had already decided not to do anything.

Later, I was told that the clinic staff had to attend a majlis as well. In that case, they could have explained that it was a special Friday or something. The 45 minutes they had me waiting while they explained how they cannot attend to a patient who was late could have very well spent on sending me to a doctor and providing a service I would have been thankful for. They could have also issued me a stern warning to not come after 11 am in future. That would have been acceptable. Some situations call for flexibility and they could have applied it at will.

The biggest irony is I had my fall in HKL and ended up at its emergency department and that’s how and why I wanted to continue to follow up with the HKL.

Despite having some of the best facilities, and some really good doctors, nurses and other staff, the small number of uncaring and rude counter personnel are quite capable of marring its image. Those who meet patients, should be trained to be humble and not dictatorial. They cannot be rude, ill treat patients who are already stressed. Most of their time their attitude is “Ini pun tak tahu.” “Tak baca”, “Tak pernah datang hospital” . The assumption that people will automatically know all their rules is really baffling.

I would like to stress that this is about the rudeness I encountered from specific staff at the clinic and it does not in way refer to the hospital’s many other hardworking or even overworked doctors and nurses and hospital assistants, especially at the emergency care unit.

Patient Unserved