Second opinion saves mum's life

In a recent letter to The Straits Times, Mr Osman Sidek explained how his decision to seek a second opinion for his mother saved her life.

According to the letter, published on December 28, Mr Sidek's 76-year-old mother had lost consciousness on October 18 and was warded for a 'massive stroke' at Changi General Hospital (CGH).

The hospital subsequently ruled out resuscitative procedures because "she was old and frail".

Against the hospital's advice, Mr Sidek and his family decided to seek another opinion. After scouring the internet for doctors, they decided to consult another NNI neuro-oncologist, Dr Ng Wai Hoe.

Dr Ng agreed to treat Mr Sidek's mother and she was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Oct 29.

He performed the biopsy and lumbar puncture which the CGH doctors had declined to carry out. The procedures revealed that Mr Sidek's mother did not have cancer.

She was instead suffering from a brain inflammation triggered by an infection.

This was treated, and after about a week, the elderly woman was able to walk, talk and eat again. She was discharged from TTSH about a month later on December 21.

Mr Sidek believes that his mother's experience at CGH is an example of how the elderly can be treated wrongly because of well-meaning concerns over their age and frailty.

He said, "With palliative care growing as a speciality, would a predisposition towards it develop surreptitiously?

"If that happens, the implication to the elderly is, to put it plainly, tragic."