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.


KL a damn good place to recuperate

Unspun, it would seem, has spent too many years out of Malaysia that he’s forgotten some of the better aspects of this country.

In normal times Unspun would zip in and out of the country for a short visit to the folks but this time around medical circumstances forced him and family to spend more than a month in KL. Unspun was recuperating and part of the recuperation called for Unspun to walk as much as possible to help clear his lungs of gooey stuff after a major operation.

It so happens that Unspun’s mother’s house, where Unspun runs to in times of trouble and distress is located in TTDI, That’s Taman Tun Dr Ismail, on the edge of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and bordering Petaling Jaya. What’s great about the location is that its just a stone’s throw from Taman Rekreasi Lembah Kiara a park that’s well laid out for walks.

It has two tracks, a lower one around a lake (where you can feed fish and turtles) fed by clear flowing streams where children go to catch little fish in the weekends.

In the center of the park are also common areas where senior citizens go for mass Tai Chi and other forms of exercise like traditional Chinese swordplay.

It also has a larger loop that cuts into the hill where you can work up a bit of a sweat. Both tracks are clean and well-maintained  (things that are seemingly impossible in Jakarta) and well used by a multitude of people ranging from pensioners to young children and the convalescent. This is one aspect of things that the Malaysian and the city government has done very well and they deserve praise for it.

Unspun’s been doing two to three loops of the park almost every morning and every time Unspun’s there he cannot help wondering why Jakarta cannot have something like this, or if it does the vendors and thousands of gawkers would spoil everything.