A Doc's Life is a underground Medical Blog about some poor Singapore doctors. They are sibei sian and very buay song. Best practices not observed!
(Warning: Grammar is non existent in this blog. Those obsessively compulsive about good English please go no further and book an appointment to see your psychiatrist in Singapore.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remembering SARS - Part II

We know that ward sisters like to hoard stuff. Can be pens, rulers, toilet papers, swabs and a variety of other daily supplies. I had always conveniently attributed this to our frugal ways since Singapore was a third world country not too long ago. Though of course when you need something in the ward it can be really frustrating. One example was disposable ECG leads. We were always made to reuse ECG leads sometimes to the extent that it is full of (many) patients' (many) hair and was no longer sticky. If you have the experience of holding on to loose ECG leads with your fingers and trying to use your leg to press the start button on the ECG machine, you will know how frustrating and humanly impossible that can be.

Inconvenience is one thing that I can accept. Potentially dying is not. 

When SARS first struck, some ward sisters decided it would be a good idea to hoard the N95 masks. With the virus full blown in Singapore by April and fatality climbing, the possibility of getting infected and dying became real! It was like a movie playing around us, somewhat surreal. Perhaps for some in the hospital, they continued to be in denial.

Being the lowest lifeform in the hospital then as a houseman, we were bounced around each day when we try to get our daily stock of N95 masks. We were told by the ward to get it from the OT but the OT told us that the supply there is only for surgeons operating. When we asked the ward, we were told by the ward sister that there was no stock.

"Zero, no more stock." She told us affirmatively.

We retreated to the MO Room to how our usual kpkb support group sessions.

"Er, I saw the sister carry so many boxes into the nurse manager room leh! How can be no stock ar!!???" One friend cried foul as everyone started complaining loudly.

"Wait ar....." Another fellow houseman stood up and shouted before exiting the room and crouching slowly towards the nursing manager's room.

He disappeared out of sight for a few minutes and returned to the MO room with one box of N95 masks. Enough to last us for a couple of days.

"Wah you went to sister's room and kapok ar?" I exclaimed.

"Well, you can't steal that which does not exist in the first place." He told me with a wink.


In the next few days, N95 masks became readily available with the hospital's official decree. 

SARS despite being all bad did improve infectious control in the wards. I'm sure ward sisters won't hoard disposable ECG leads anymore these days. Even if its not unhygienic, reusing leads with hair-stuck-on, seriously gross la.


  1. i heard an adventurer clinic in an old old name hospital don't provide gloves for staff who give vaccinations for those adventurers embarking on treacherous journeys. i was surprised!

  2. Anonymous1:20 AM

    locuk, really love yr blog! I showed it to my ma today n she laugh until...please cont to write more!

  3. Anonymous2:13 AM

    doctor u too busy is it.. never update ur blog one... :(