Dear ASS Editors,

My experience at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) & KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)

My ordeal started on 6 May 8.30am, I went to Bukit Merah Polyclinic with an acute pain on the left side of my lower abdominal and was quickly assisted to the emergency room and given a jab of pain killer. BMP called for an ambulance and I was sent off to SGH at Abt 8.45am.

At A&E department of SGH, I was registered and had my blood,urine and X-RAY tests aroud noon but results showed nothing positive. So a gynaecologist, Dr Ng Yan Shun was asked to exam me. He attended to me at 6.30pm and we went thru series of examination including speculum, finger & transvaginal scan. Dr Ng said nothing was conclusive and he was sure my pain was not related to any gynaelogical issues but more bowel related issues. He then ordered an ultra sound, which could only be done 2 months later on 5 July and I was sent home with a bag of pain killers (generic panadol).

On the 7th May, after eating my breakfast, the pain reocurred and I took 2 panadols given by SGH but the pain intensified and there was numbness around my upper left area. I went back to SGH A&E at 11.30am only to be told I have to pay A&E Fees again since my check in time yesterday was 9am,which was almost 9 hours wait to see a gynecologist. I was not willing to wait again at SGH and proceeded to Raffles hospital (RH) A&E.

Raffles Hospital for private ultra-sound

At RH, I was immediately given a jab of pain killers and advised to do an ultra sound, (as per SGH’s proposal my ultra sound is two months’ away). During the one hour ultrasound, the radiologist saw a huge mass next to my left ovary. The mass is 10.5 x 9 x 6cm and must be removed.

This cyst was not detected by the doctor at SGH

A MRI is required to further confirm what the mass could be so I ask RH to refer me to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which is a government hospital and thus is subsidized by my Medishealh.

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)

At KKH, I was admitted but was told that MRI will not be available in the weekend and I would only be provided with pain management until Monday. On Monday 9th May, I was told the earliest MRI could only be on Thursday but I told them that I m in extreme pain, with spottings and numbness on my thigh so KKH manage to do the emergency MRI at 1.30pm on Monday.

The doctor at KKH confirmed the MRI results and my growth is Endometriosis and for its size I have to do a open operation instead of key hole. After explaining the complications, again I was discharged and the hospital scheduled my operation for 2 weeks later on the 23rd May. Even with extreme pain (which persisted even with pain killers), bleeding (light spottings) and numbness, I was told that’s the earliest date for surgery since the surgeon in KKH only works on Monday and operation theatre are fully booked.

I was sent home again with another bag of pain killers…..

My qns for the Singapore medical system…
1. if a patient comes in via ambulance complaining of pain, how could A&E make them wait 9hrs before seeing the related Doctor? In such a big hospital and high patient flow, how is it possible to have only ONE doctor on call for emergency cases? And at KKH, operation in such cases only happens on Monday?

2. If a patient were given high doses of painkiller by injection or medication, how could they expect the patient to determine the intensity of the pain in emergency cases?

3. What happens if I delay 2mth later to get my ultrasound at SGH? What if my cyst rupture due to the size and went undetected?

Just because government hospitals are subsidized doesn’t mean they can take people’s life lightly? Long waiting hours… And haphazard treatments or checks? And go home with 2 big bags of painkillers till we meet again… I try to survive on that 2 bags of painkillers and not rupture my cyst before my operation 2 weeks later…

Catrina Wong
A.S.S. Contributor

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