Hong Kong hospital admissions staff still as heartless two decades later

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 September, 2009, 12:00am

The report ('Anger at delay in treating boy', September 20), brought back memories of an incident that happened to my family three days after our arrival in Hong Kong, from India, 20 years ago.

My three-year-old daughter tripped and hurt her chin while playing and was bleeding. My second daughter was just a toddler then and it was late, so my husband decided to take our injured child to St Paul's Hospital in Causeway Bay, because it was near our house.

Unfortunately we did not know how much it would cost. In case he did not have enough cash to cover the charges my husband took along his ATM card.

At the hospital he was told he would have to pay HK$3,000, because he did not have his original identity card.

As with all new arrivals, he only had temporary papers from the Immigration Department until his card was ready to pick up.

Nor did he have a credit card for the same reason; in order to get one from a bank he needed to have his ID card. He was, therefore, forced to carry our child who was bleeding to the nearest ATM machine. His shirt was soaked in blood.

When I heard about what had happened I was furious. I wondered what sort of city we had come to.

Only a week before our departure from India, at a farewell party, our youngest daughter developed breathing problems.

We rushed her to the nearest hospital in a taxi. When we arrived we did not have the exact amount needed to pay the hospital. We were told not to worry.

They would get her admitted and deal with payment details later.

The doctors were so attentive. They did not even mention payment until she had been treated. That is what I call professionalism.

Over the last 20 years, through our hard work, we have done well in Hong Kong. But after reading the article it made me think that nothing has changed even after all these years and Hong Kong people are still money-minded.

Aruna Murali, Kowloon Bay