Another ungrateful aid recipient

Singapore and Singaporeans have been emptying their savings to help the unfortunate victims in the tsunami, in earthquakes and typhoons. The public even donated $660,000 to the Nepalese conjoined twins and a team of doctors and nurses ran a marathon operation practically for free to separate them. Now Singapore and the surgeons are being accused of breaking our promises and being irresponsible. Dr Basant Pant, a Nepalese surgeon, accused Singapore for starting the operation and not completing the job. Hahaha. This is what we deserve for being too hasty and eager to help the desperadoes. It is our duty and responsibility to finish the job and raise more funds for it. Actually Singaporeans will do it enthusiastically if the surviving twin, Jamuna, returns for her next operation. And Dr Keith Goh will willingly complete what needs to be done. But for what this Dr Basant had said, and pointing the finger at us, it has left a very bad taste. Do we owe them a living? Do we need to bother about what happens to a Nepalese child? Do we need to empty our pockets to help this child? Do we need to be accused of being irresponsible and trying to be good samaritans? I think we should tell this Dr Basant Pant to shaft it and take care of his own people and their own problems.


Mockingbird said...

What an ass! Need our help still so yaya papaya! Pui!

Anonymous said...

The first thing that came to my mind when they first decided to perform the seperation was to ask myself this question: Did we do it just to show the world that we have the best medical skills to carry out the operation or was it really out of care and concern for the twins?

If I remember correctly, surgeons in US and Europe consulted earlier were of the opinion that the seperation was not feasible. I think Dr. Lee Wei Leng wrote a piece about the cons of such an operation and the inherent post-operation problems resulting from such surgery.

Solo Bear said...

Agree with anonymous that we did it to "show the world".

If you recall, the operation was done almost immediately after an even more disastrous similar operation. 2 Iranian female Siamese twins, at the age of 27 (I think) underwent a similar operation in Raffles Hospital.

Doctors all over the world said that the operation was highly risky, considering their age. The girls' father, who was also a doctor himself, was dead against the operation and did not approve of his daughters' intention to undergo the surgery.

I recall, days before the operation, there was a BIG fanfare, interviews from the press and BIG, BIG publicity to showcase Singapore's "wonderful" state of the art medical technology.

Both twins died on the operating table. The world was saddened (not to mention that their dad was devastated), and suddenly, the press was dead silent.

Come the Nepalese twins to the rescue! What a great way to redeem Singapore's stature!

Well, the twins lived - and we celebrated again - till now.

I agree that Singapore should finish what they started. The receipient is not ungrateful. We are the selfish ones, thinking of our own status and dicing with the life of others.

Anonymous said...

"I agree that Singapore should finish what they started."

Me too.

I think the hidden agenda for the people in absolute power (absolutely corrupted) is to make use of the event for publicity.


redbean said...

hi all and welcome, SL.
there are a few issues here. as for keith goh, there is no issue and he is willing to operate on the girl.

then there is an agreement that if it can be done at nepal, they should do it. but this dr pant just wanted it to be done in spore for the simple reason that we started it. it gives the impression that since spore wanted to be clever, that go and finish the job.

for the operation to be done here it is going to be very costly and the $60k or so left will be used up pretty fast. this time i don't thing the public is going to throw money at her anymore.

presumably the operation can be done at nepal and the money left can go a long way. why not, dr pant?

it is ridiculous to hear that after so much money were donated to her, she could not afford the $4 taxi fare for follow up physiotherapy. this is shitty.

my guess is that sgh knew that it could be done at nepal but the nepal doctors refused to do it. so it came out as a public spat.

i used the term ungrateful recipient in a general sense to describe all the recipients, including country and doctors. i don't think jamuna and her family are not grateful. they die die also want it to be done here. i hope for the right reasons.

Solo Bear said...

Need to clear something first. Earlier I stated that the Nepalese twins had their operation after the Iranian twins. This is incorrect. The Nepalese twins had it BEFORE the Iranians. It was based on the success of the operation on the Nepalese, that doctors in Singapore decided to operate on the Iranians.

The issue is not whether they are ungrateful or not. The issue here is that the notion that Singapore has been “kind and generous” is erroneous. Singapore has been trying to showcase its medical technology. In its effort, certain medical ethics has been breached.

One of them is the separation of Siamese twins, when there is no life endangered. The operation has to be seen in the light that Singapore has also operated on the Iranians, which the experts around the world have commented was not only highly risky, but highly unnecessary too.

So was the operation necessary in the first place? If no, then surely, it was only for Singapore to showcase its “advanced” medical technology, right?

What generosity talking you?

redbean said...

in the case of the nepalese twins, there were a lot of generosities from singaporeans of all walks of life, and also from the medical team. i believe many of them played a significant role and money was the least of the factors in their minds.

in the case of professional ethics and conducts, these are debatable points. some will agree some will not. some will be prepared to take higher risks, some less.

both operations were taken with all options on the table and failure was not a hidden element. in the case of the iranian twins, no one is willing to operate on them except the team from singapore. they wanted the operations badly despite the risk and the team gave them that option. everyone knew it was touch and go.

and in this case, there were lesser issue of generosities in terms of outpouring of financial assistance. the surgeons made a professional judgement. there was a little mavericism involved. in many scientific experiments, some situations will give rise to ground breaking situations. many failed and some successes led to greater advancement in medical science.

let's accept the position that everyone went in with their eyes wide open. the iranian twins were running around the world for someone who dare to put their professionalism on the chopping block, and their lives too.

it was a tough decision on the part of all concerned. and there were cooling off period for all parties to back out.

Solo Bear said...

The issue here is medical ethics and NOT generosity.

According to medical experts, the operation was risky, even unnecessary.

Now if the Singapore medical professionals want to breach those medical ethics and go for medical glory instead – and use the Singapore media to raise funds from Singaporeans, who are non the wiser about medical ethics, who are we to claim we are generous and compassionate?

If the Iranian operation had gone well, Singapore would have continued to boast to the world, including showing a big fat middle finger to all the medical experts outside Singapore, and yell at the top of our voices, “We did it!”

All glory will be showered on the Singapore team and Singapore. But it did not go well, and as expected, Singapore got criticized.

But hey, Singapore decided to go along with it, when the rest of the world had already advised that it was not only risky, but TOTALLY UNNECESSARY!

What Singapore wanted from the Iranian operation was to bask in further glory, after the “success” of the Nepalese twins.

Now that the Nepalese doctor has made a point that we should finish what we started, shouldn’t we take in our stride that we were actually truly seeking glory, rather than acting on compassion, when we operated on the Nepalese twins?

If it really was about compassion, Singapore would have taken steps to abide by the medical ethics that we should not have operated, if no life was threatened.

Cut the crap that we are compassionate and generous. The funds may have been from generous parties, but those who decided to go with the operation had a very different intention.

Anonymous said...

George says:
Yes, the medical fraternity and authorities here should own up to its responsibility.

Whether it can be done here or in Nepal to my mind is not the issue in the sense that such a procedure carries with it risk. Singapore has been in the forefront as far as this operation is concern. So why should the Nepalese doctors be asked to do it in Nepal with the risk involved. Also considering that one of the twins has already passed away.

redbean said...

generosity, ethics and medical expertise were all issues here.

generosity, depending on who is looking at who, is very subjective. but there were no lack of generosity on the part of the public and many of the medical professionals involved. you are being too unkind to condemn them.

ethics is even more subjective. who is more righteous, to each his own.

the medical professionals could bask in glory if they succeeded. no doubt about it. but were they wrong? if they were, the medical council of the hospital would have stepped in to block the operation. and if they had gone ahead, criminal proceedings would be taken against.

in this case, no, it was a professional call. they made the decision to go ahead with the consent of the patients and no prohibition from the medical council. to put the blame on them as fame seekers is unfair.

they acted to the best of their professional knowledge. they took the risk, they took the criticism for failure and they deserve the accolades if they succeeded.

at times when no one dares, you need some of these buggers to take that fear step forward. if everyone is kiasi, there will be no progress.

who is to say they are right or wrong, ethical or unethical?

all we can say is that they took a professional decision, well calculated and knowing all the risks involved. it was a calculated risk that all parties were willing to accept.

for the nepalese surgeon to take the position that our medical team started it, and it is not his job to finish it even if he could do it is a very unprofessional stand. if he could not do it, then it is a different issue.

redbean said...

to answer to anonymous, all such operations are risky, but this second stage of operation is not that risky as before. it is in a way more of a cosmetic, to reshspe the skull.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Redbean,

It is not feasible to leave someone without covering of the membranes lining the brain for very long - either a titanium plate or a bone graft is usually put in place. This is the second stage of any procedure.

I guess you believe in doing only one stage of the procedure like the surgeon who took out someone's liver while trying to force the Ministry of health to authorise a transplant!


Anonymous said...

Publicity stunt gone awry.

Anonymous said...

aiyah ...

the nepalese and the singapore public being made use of ... by the elites - nothing new in Singapore.

Singaporeans shud learn to be more discerning with their generosity.

Dun because the Straits Times say pitiful, then everyone take out their last penny from their piggy bank to donate.

redbean said...

it was reported in the ST yesterday that there was an agreement between the nepalese and SGH that if the second operation could be done in nepal, they will do it.

now the nepalese just refused to talk about this part of the agreement. the ugly part is to simply throw the baby at us. and keith goh was kind enough to want to do it without quarreling with them.

i still find the attitude of this dr pant disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan was involved but not part of the operation but in the administrative position of the hospital.