Cure some time, relief often, comfort always - medical mantra
KARIM Sulaiman is one person who have friends and colleagues who rallied around him. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad led the on-going efforts to seek relief and possibly a cure for Karim's ailment. Now on a six-months medical leave with full pay courtesy of his employer, Berita Harian, Karim is at home as he grapples with his sickness.
Today, Dec 21, an ambulance arranged by Dr Latif took Karim from his house in Sri Gombak to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for an appointment to meet the hospital's top dermatologist, Puan Sri Dr Soraya Tun Hussein. Karim, who had all this while been treated as a patient at a private hospital, will now receive further attention from a Government hospital.
I spoke to Hawa, his wife, and was told that HKL took note of Karim's medical history and ran a series of tests. Hawa, in thanking Dr Latif, Dr Soraya and HKL, said the whole family is grateful for all the help extended to Karim in his time of need.
In fact, Dr Latif is also arranging a medical bed to be sent to Karim's house to help him sleep and rest comfortably. At the moment, Hawa and/or the children will have to carry Karim each time he wants to sit up in bed. With a medical bed, this can be made easier as the bed is electrically-controlled.
News of Karim in the mainstream media has attracted considerable attention with several friends and VIPs visiting him at home. But door-to-door salesmen have also made a beeline to his house as they try to sell cure-alls to Karim. Hawa is not taken in by them this far.
Karim's plight is also a challenge to the country's medical fraternity. If a cure is to be found for Karim, then the medical brotherhood must get together and pool their resources to help the one-time Malaysia's best journalist of the year. It's the least the medical people can do, and I'm very sure that many of them are scouring the medical journals, surfing the Net, making phone calls and sending e mails to their counterparts all over the world to seek help.
Karim, ever the obliging and friendly person that he is, said he is offering himself as a test case for all the doctors. "Use me for your research," he said in a low voice.
Well, that's Karim for you. But what about the many others out there who are probably suffering and in pain as they try to cope with their ailments. For one Karim, there are perhaps tens, or even hundred others who are bed-ridden withering away without help or support for their plight.
Karim is a lucky person in a sense that he has friends who rally behind him. It's because he's a known person, and people take notice. He was an award winner, helped many people in the past, friends to plenty. While he did his job without hoping for any form of gratification, the least we can do for him is to ease his pain. Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul (no matter how much we see him in pain, only he knows the agony he's going through).
But, as I said, what about the many other Karims in some nook and corner of the country? They are unknowns, have not won awards, and have no friends in high places. They could very well be suffering too, in silence and may have even abandoned any hope of relief and recovery.
We should form a Foundation for them, where we can pool all our resources and use them to alleviate their pain and sufferings. The Government is doing what it can, but we as citizens can also form an action group to provide the extra care and really lend a helping hand. Very often we react quickly but in an ad hoc manner to reports of individuals suffering from some serious illness or other.
We need to organise. When we do so, we can be more effective. We may not be able to search for cures all the time; but we certainly can help provide some relief and offer some comforts to our fellow Man as they lay hapless, alone and in despair.