IPOH - Parents of two newborns claimed they have been threatened by doctors and nurses at public health clinics for opting to send their children, who have jaundice, to private hospitals.
They claimed that these personnel told them that their babies might not be given immunisation jabs provided by the Government.
A 26-year-old graphic designer, who only wished to be known as Yan, said his 24-year-old wife delivered their first child at a private hospital here on Nov 2 and was discharged the next day.
Two days later, he said a nurse from a nearby government clinic visited them at home and found the baby looking yellowish.
Yan said he took his infant son to the public clinic where a doctor there told him the jaundice level was high and that the baby required immediate treatment at a government hospital.
When Yan asked if he could go to a private hospital, he claimed that the doctor insisted that he must send his son to a public hospital or face the consequences of the baby not getting immunisation jabs offered by the Government.
He said he complied and took his son to a government hospital, but the entire process from admitting the boy to getting a blood test took about eight hours.
"Later, a doctor and the nurses told me that they could not send out the blood test immediately because it was already Friday," he said in an interview.
Yan said when he kept insisting that he needed to get the test results fast because he preferred to seek treatment for his baby at a private hospital, "the doctor told me that once my baby is discharged from the government hospital and if the private hospital had no beds available, the government hospital would not accept my baby".
Several days later, Yan claimed that a nurse from the health clinic called again, asking him why he had not come to the government hospital and that if he refused to do so, she would make a police report.
The mother of another baby, who only wished to be known as Lam, said she delivered her second child at a private hospital on Nov 4.
The 27-year-old housewife said a health clinic nurse came to visit her at her house later and she was told to bring her baby to the clinic to check for jaundice.
When her baby girl was discharged yesterday from a private hospital after the jaundice treatment, the housewife said the same nurse visited her again and insisted that she should go to a public clinic.
"I told her that the private doctor had already done the necessary. She wanted to see the report in black and white. I had to call the child specialist from the private hospital for him to speak to the nurse and explain the situation.
"She also asked where I would go to get immunisation jabs for my baby next time," she said.
State Health Department director Datuk Dr Juita Ghazalie requested the parents to provide the necessary details to the department.
She said she needed the names of the staff involved and the dates of the incident.
The complainants could also write to the department, she added.
"Not every staff has such an attitude. So I need to get a full report and to hear the other party as well," she added.