The doctor who dared to put life before profits and career

To many people, doctors today generally elicit more contempt than admiration because they have sold themselves out to Mammon. For those of us who have to undergo operation and pay the costs, you wonder if you’d be left for dead if you don’t have the moolah or you forgot to insure yourself.

But every now and again comes a story to restore your faith in the medical profession.  Two years ago when Unspun had to have a quadruple bypass he met Dr Rozali Watooth in Malaysia who won his admiration with his skill, humanity and dedication. You can read about it here.

Since then Unspun’s had other heart complications arising from atrial flutter and that was when he was introduced by a good friend to his brother, a cardiologist at the Cinere Heart Hospital in south Jakarta.

The doctor was very competent, humble and helpful but today I learned that he was also a hero. Faced with a dying patient, he put his professional life and future on the line by performing a cardiac procedure on a stranger whose employer who took him to hospital could not pay the fees and whose family could not be contacted.

The doctor was in a double quandary. If he did nothing, the patient would surely die. But if he treated the patient, he not only ran the risk of the hospital he worked in not being paid its due; he could also be sued by the patient’s family for malpractice since they were not there to give him permission to treat the victim.

A legal suit would definitely destroy the career he had wanted since childhood and has spent over a decade building.

What did he do? Here’s an account by his sister, who translated a posting from their brother. I feel so honoured not only to have known and be treated by Dr Jeffrey but also the family, particularly their mother, who raised such fine children.

So here’s a salute to mothers who raised children to do the right things; and to the children who dared to risk it all for what they believed in.

Kinda restores you faith in doctors, doesn’t this?


Ling’s Design Studio: Saving A Life

This is the most worthy story that I ever wrote for my blog. No card. This is just a personal, true story that I feel worth sharing.

I  translate this directly from what my younger brother Jerry Aurum wrote:

A seamstress laid in the ICU room of a certain hospital in Jakarta. He was taken there by his employer. A young doctor checked on him and found out that this man had a heart attack and they need to do a coronary stent, that cost hundreds of million in rupiah (thousand of dollars in US currency).

The employer said he couldn’t afford the cost and they couldn’t contact the patient’s family. Dealing with heart attack, each minute counts. In fact within the 15 minutes the patient was in  the hospital, his heart stopped 3 times, but each time the doctor was able to revive him.

The doctor asked his colleague what should he do. If they don’t do anything, the patient will die. The colleague said well it is what it is, what can we do. Unsatisfied with the answer, the doctor went t the hospital director. Same answer. As a doctor he’s facing the dilemma, if he takes an action without the permission from the family and the hospital and no way to know how the patient going to pay for the procedure,  he is facing a high risk that could cost not only his career but his own life (being a doctor is his life).

At the end, the doctor decided to do the coronary stent on his patient who is dying. Without any way of knowing who would cover the cost for the procedure, without any back up from his colleague or the hospital. And if he failed, he would be the one that being accused by the family as being responsible for the death. In his mind he only think of 1 thing. This patient is only 32 years old and who will feed his little children if he passed away?

With God’s blessing, the patient survived. When the patient’s wife arrived (she’s only a maid with low income), she was so thankful. And the doctor was able to convince the hospital to not charge anything to the patient and asked the employer to help with the cost of the medicine that the patient will really need to stay alive and get well.

A few hours later, this story go around the hospital and became hot topic. Some nurses cried and thank the doctor even though they don’t know who the patient is.

When I heard this, I told the doctor, there’s moment in life that show a doctor his quality as a doctor and there’s also moment that show a doctor his quality as a human being.

This young doctor name is Jeffrey Wirianta, a well known cardiologist in Jakarta who loves being a doctor more than anything. And me, Jerry Aurum, is his younger brother who is so proud to have a brother who truly dedicate his life to his work and even more his dedication to other human being. ~

You see, the cardiologist in this story, Jeffrey Wirianta is my big brother. When I read this post on my younger brother’s Facebook wall, I found myself crying with so much love and admiration. And true to his style, when I  told Jeff how proud I am of him, all he said that at that moment all he could think of is saving this man’s life. And that he was afraid. Afraid of what “might happen”.

And that makes me even prouder. That he was afraid, yet he did it anyway. The world need more doctors like him. He always wanted to become a doctor since he was only 5 years old. That’s the only answer he ever gave when people ask him what he’d like to be.

In high school, my mom asked him why he wants to become a doctor and he said to save life. To this day, despite all his success, he stay true to his reason and I know my mom is one proud mom at this moment. If you ask my mom, I know she’d said she reached her life goal, which is  to raise decent human being.

Mom, I  think you did an amazing job in raising us. Especially with Jeff as he became such a good role model for us to follow. To Jeff, thank you for making me believe that there’s still good people out there. That there’s still real doctor out there who really about saving lives.

Right now, I  feel like my heart would burst with so much love and admiration. Jeffrey Wirianta, I am so blessed and proud to have you as my brother. You are the best! Love, love, love.


R.I.P. Ditta Amahorseya

Update: Ditta’s wake will be at the IES Church, 9th Fl UOB Building, Jl. Thamrin at 6pm this Wednesday

I’ve known Ditta since my days at Ogilvy PR when we won the Citibank account, way back in 1998. Since then, I’ve worked together with her on and off for the past 15 years.

When I started up Maverick with my partner in 2002 Ditta and another Citibanker were instrumental in getting Citibank to become our first client. It was a professional relationship that would last until last year.

Even then we remained friends and fellow professionals in Public Relations. We also had one more thing in common – both of us were heart patients, although what Ditta had to go through made my quadruple bypass seemed like a walk in the park.

What I liked most about Ditta was that inspire of the congenital health problems she had she faced it courageously and openly and lived life to the full. In conversations she would be telling you about the movies she just saw, the plays and concerts she attended and the friends she went out with. As anyone who knew her can attest, she had many, many friends from all strata of society. Going out with her was like being with a celebrity or a queen waving incessantly to her subjects.

Ditta was open to trying out new things too and at one time I convinced her to try her hand at blogging. As she, by her own admission, was technically inept, I had to set up her blog for her, that she called Dittaville. She wrote a few posts, but soon got busy with other things.

At the same time she would also be completely open and candid about her health problems. The last time we met was at The Pad in SCBD, where she ordered a cheese soufflé and a steak – because her doctors kept telling her that she needed the nourishment for her blood. She also described the procedures that she would have to undergo in New York.

When we parted, I wished her well for her operation. That was the last time I saw her. Now I hear she did not make it through her operation because of internal bleeding.

I and the team at Maverick who worked with her will miss her. As a client she could be strict and demanding but she was always fair and understanding. She was more like a partner to us than a client and for many years we took pride in helping her build Citibank’s image in Indonesia.

Ditta is now no more. We at Maverick mourn her passing, but we take comfort in that she knew how to live life to the full, even when faced with the difficulties imposed by her health. You couldn’t ask more out of life that Ditta did, and for that we admire her and wish her well in the next journey.