Saturday, April 11, 2009

Condolences to Richard Stanley's family - question for Mt Elizabeth - was this an avoidable hospital infection??

DBS CEO Richard Stanley passed away yesterday. My heartfelt condolences to his family. It's never ever easy to lose someone, a loved one, at the prime of his life, and in such a sudden unexpected manner.

Unexpected? Yeah... though he had leukemia, the disease for a large part can be managed reasonably well. He didn't die of the leukemia .... it should be recognized that he died of an unexpected hospital infection.

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (Wikipedia)
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (

In sharing in the family's grief, we must not neglect to ask the crucially important question .... one that the family in their moment of grief may be too 'pai seh' to ask...:

Was this death avoidable?

True, he had leukemia. And it's true that at this stage of the disease, he was prone to infections.... but was the infection really unavoidable? We had discussed hospital infections recently, and we had people protesting that hospitals have been doing all they could to control the problem, but Mt Elizabeth Hospital had been rather quiet.

So my question to Mt Elizabeth is this .... "Have you done all you could in reducing the risk of hospital infections...especially in a situation like this when the patient is ultra-susceptible to infections?"

It's a bit like in superclean Singapore, where we have a reputation of being able to eat off the pavements .... suddenly finding out that our famous food courts are little more than cess pits.
Quite malu, lah.

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