ON Tuesday, the case of a doctor at Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban who was allegedly swindled of RM185,000 in black money fraud comes up for hearing in a Sessions Court. It is a distressing matter standing in the middle of the room like an elephant, yet the guardians of public healthcare appear to be in a state of comatose.
She is the same ‘Dr Gullible’ exposed by Malay Mail in October of having lost close to RM1.5 million to Internet scammers. She is the same doctor who holds the dubious honour of being the Malaysian who has lost the highest amount of money to cyber fraudsters.
Shouldn’t the ‘treatment’ of such a high public interest matter arrive like a resuscitation trolley in an emergency ward?
While Seremban is abuzz with the exploits of ‘Dr Gullible’, it continues to be another day at work for the 55-year-old woman who makes life-threatening decisions daily.
Why wasn’t her mental health assessed when her plight became public knowledge and came to the notice of the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital? Why wasn’t she referred to the Health Ministry’s Competency Assessment Centre?
How can she not be psychologically disturbed when her life savings have been wiped out? How can she make a crucial call when she has slumped into depression and cannot sleep well?
Emotional problems, depression, stress and restlessness among primary care doctors compromise patient care, especially when it involves life and death. So, why is she still on ward rounds?
‘Dr Gullible’ brought her story of being stitched up by scammers to me early October. We talk often even now — but I sense she’s as terrified as the patient she attends to daily.
Surely, she is scared stiff of media coverage of her case on Dec 9 when she would again be identified as the doctor who paid a Cameroonian and his accomplice RM185,000 to buy chemical to ‘wash’ US dollars amounting to close to RM10 million.
The investigation by Malay Mail crime desk of her astounding RM1.5 million loss, maybe more, should have done her in. She was let loose by the hospital and Health Ministry.
Already, she is being accused of greed by virtue of sending huge sums of money to people she never met. She only knew them on Indian dating siteShaadi.com.
I have known her husband for some 30 years and since he learnt of his wife being ripped off from other sources, he has become an emotional wreck. Their only daughter is unaware of the situation. Christmas would be very different for this family.
But think of the sick under her care. Are they getting high quality healthcare? Is it fair to put their lives in the hands of ‘Dr Gullible’?
There should be no shallow approach to doctors reeling from depression in healthcare. Responsibility towards patients and giving accurate diagnosis is imperative, hence the importance to ensuring stable mental state of mind among doctors.
The Health Ministry owes a duty of care to ensure a respectable and reliable public healthcare system. They are letting us down.
The broader picture: If ‘Dr Gullible’ sent RM1.5 million from her account through her banks and Western Union over the past months, why wasn’t the alert raised to possible money laundering? Banks are letting us down as well.
Has the system gone bonkers? Clearly, everyone is living in self-indulgence. Oh, just go away.
Award-winning journalist Frankie D'Cruz is Editor Emeritus of Malay Mail. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter@frankieDcruz.