Last December, I experienced severe back pain and was referred by a general practitioner to consult a specialist at Singapore General Hospital.
On the day of the appointment, which was more than a month later, I was attended to by a very young doctor who appeared to be a trainee.
I asked where the specialist was and the nurse replied that he was in another room and would come over later.
After asking a series of questions and conducting some movement tests, the young doctor determined that I had sciatica.
Later, the specialist entered the room, but instead of greeting me and attending to me, he focused more on the young doctor.
He asked the trainee what his diagnosis was and quizzed him on whether he had asked certain questions.
Throughout the consultation, the specialist seemed to be in a hurry and appeared more interested in talking to the trainee doctor than to me.
As a result, the young doctor had to repeat his questions to me in the presence of the specialist.
They then decided that I had to go for a magnetic resonance imaging scan before they could decide on the next course of action.
The consultant then walked off, leaving the trainee doctor to attend to me.
Throughout the visit, I felt more like a guinea pig than a patient receiving treatment.
When it came to making payment, I was told to pay the price for consulting the specialist.
Following the visit, my wife, who had accompanied me then, told me to forget about making another visit as she, too, felt that I was not getting the care and attention that a health-care professional should have rendered.
Kwek Joo Chuan