Farewell Dr Nor Baizura

Farewell Dr Nor Baizura
Dr Mazeni Alwi
Sep 27, 06 6:31pm

The medical community is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Nor Baizura after 15 days in coma in the Intensive Care Unit. The young doctor was only a few months into her housemanship, and coming from a humble background she was her family’s hope for a better future.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a government medical personnel died following a road traffic accident while in the course of duty. Many of us in this field can easily recollect similar tragic stories involving individuals that we personally know.

Given Malaysia’s rate of road traffic accidents, having to make frequent visits to peripheral clinics or sending ill patients to major referral centres in Kuala Lumpur can be very perilous.

Then there are young medical officers who contracted tuberculosis in the course of their work. They have to undergo long periods of anti-TB treatment, suffer chronic ill-health and have their plans for postgraduate careers disrupted. This is only going to get worse if the threat of the HIV pandemic becomes real.

The issue of insurance cover and compensation for government medical personnel has been raised each time a tragic incident like this happens. However it is all too easy for the administrative bureaucracy to give the shrug of indifference as those unfortunate enough to suffer injury, death or chronic ill-health are voiceless junior medical officers and staff nurses.

It is time we recognise that occupational hazards is not the monopoly of blue collar workers who at least have Socso, Niosh and the industrial courts. In striving to upgrade and modernise our public service to become more efficient, caring and friendly, we urge the government to seriously consider providing insurance cover and financial compensation to those at risk of injury and death in the course of serving the public. Posthumous words of commendation and passing the hat around simply will not do.

My sincere condolences to the family of Dr Nor Baizura. Al Fatihah.

The writer is chairman, Muslim Professionals Forum.