Hard to stop fake doctors in big hospitals

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PETALING JAYA: There is no sure way to prevent ordinary individuals from masquerading as doctors in hospitals.

Former president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Dr H Krishna Kumar said unlike the military service, hospitals have many points of entry and it is near impossible to keep track of all the doctors registered working at a hospital.

“Hospitals have free access to the public. You can’t have a rigid system like in the military.

“You can’t have a single point of entry where every single person has to report himself at an entry point. That’s not how a hospital works,” he told FMT.

Krishna said to differentiate an impostor from a real doctor is hard because it is not against the law to wear a lab coat with a stethoscope around one’s neck.

“The only way to identify one as bogus is to ask the doctor his identity,” he said.

Krishna said every hospital will issue a unique identification badge (IDs) and that badge will show that the doctor is working in that particular hospital.

This identification is also usually used when a doctor signs off on any document.

“It’s near impossible to list every single doctor working in a particular hospital. It may be possible for a smaller hospital but it is impossible for a much larger hospital that has a lot of patient traffic,” he said.

“Somebody who wants to masquerade as a doctor can still do it. Hospitals are not a high-security place where we have special IDs to enter in and out because everybody is always walking in and out.”

Earlier yesterday, it was reported that a man was caught after having masqueraded for more than a year as a doctor at a hospital in Kedah.

The man who called himself “Dr Ridzuan”, reportedly frequented Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital dressed in a lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck.

It was reported that “Dr Ridzuan” usually stayed in public areas as he did not have access to the wards, adding that he neither treated nor examined patients at the hospital.

Following this, the health ministry was reported to be reviewing its safety procedures.

Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam was quoted as saying he had been informed by health authorities in Kedah that the man would usually talk to people, pretending to be a doctor, before going home.

Subramaniam said the ministry would review the current system and control measures to investigate how the incident could have occurred to help prevent it from happening again.

Security review for ministry after man plays doctor for a year