Saturday, April 24, 2010

Medical Manga

The Japs excel when it comes to comics. The quality is not just in the art but in the story and how it affects ones emotions towards the characters or the story as one reads along. If you read some of these, you can also appreciate that a good deal of research has been done to make the description as accurate or seem real enough for readers to believe. There are also some historical references in some of the comics again highlighting the amount of research done to produce these quality comics.

Imagination in the medical world thrives in these comics. Being in the medical field myself these comics help inspire in more than one ways. They also give new ideas to the field, sending a message that anything's possible.

Some of the summary and reviews of some of my favourite medical manga. Most of these can be read in


An outbreak of an unknown hemorrhagic disease breakout in Japan. Japan's CDC gets into action to figure out the cause of this outbreak and attempt to find a cure for this lethal disease. Word of the disease leaks into the media causing widespread panic among the public.

This ones on the public health aspect of medicine. The manga managed to capture the emotions and fear that strikes men when dealing with the unknown. Calm turns to chaos in mere moments. And then politics doesn't make things any easier. It never does.


An unfortunate man one day was shot in the head during a bank robbery. He regained consciousness in the hospital to later find out that he had the world's first brain transplant.

Not really a medical manga per say but still interesting enough read. What happens when you have half of your brain taken out to be replaced with another? Will your personality change? Will you become someone totally different? Does your brain make you who you really are? More of a psychological thriller. Still early in the series but the psychological aspect of the story is told nicely so far.

Saijou No Meii (The Best Skilled Surgeon)

This ones about an aspiring young pediatric surgeon (my field!) whom with his skills and dedication attempts to revive a non-profiting peadiatric surgery department in his hospital while inspiring others to follow in his footstep.

As usual, the protagonist has special skills (in this case an ability to see things in 4D perspective) to effectively perform surgery on kids, a demanding surgery. Besides that his caring and charming personality with kids inspires one to do everything you can for a patient. As the protagonist attempts to establish the pediatric department, he has to face opposition from the hospital assistant director who attempts to derail his plans. The comic also provides a lot of historical references, one I like was on the contributions and sacrifices made by doctors in the past in the name of discovery. Has a cute heroine too =)


Asada, a brilliant surgeon is recruited by young and beautiful Asst Prof to help her finish her thesis on the Batista, a difficult cardiosurgery. Asada takes it one step further to recruit his own team members for the surgery at hand. Competition to take top post in the hospital management is rife and the ones already on top is not about to let go easily.

Like the protagonist in Saijou No Meii, the hero here also has a 'everything for the patient' attitude ,regardless if his decision might cost him his job, or his boss. The assistant professor meanwhile attempts to make her ambition of reforming Japanese health care come true as the current one is rife with feudalism and corruption to the detriment of patients. However to achieve that she has to get to the top first where political maneuvers are necessary. In this one, theres 2 HOT chicks. Reason enough to start reading.

Other medical mangas I haven't read like Black Jack might also be good. I'll be reading manga for a long time to come if the Japs keep up with fresh ideas like they are doing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Failing Final Professional Exam: So What?

Haha senang aku cakap tapi sebenarnye takut gak fail.

Despite the low prevalence of failures in the past (avg 2 tho I don't have the exact numbers), its amazing how we translate this as us being one of the 1% (failing) instead of the 99% (passing).

What does failure actually means in that overall general perception?

  • Starting work later by 6 months?
  • Going through more years as a student? without our colleagues.
  • Humiliation as others pass?
  • Not achieving parent's / teacher's expectations?
  • Sitting in the AGD while everyone else celebrate their graduation?
  • More time staying in Kuantan?

Really why do we fear of failure for exams?

Can there be a different perception? Could failing means:

  • We are not good enough, safe enough and need more time to improve.
  • We get to enjoy more of student life for an additional 6 months before the hellish slave work of housemanship we have all heard.
  • We get more attention from teachers to better focus on us and teach us more.
  • Going through student life again without the trouble of going through seminars, logbooks and all that other burden that we get in addition to studies during usual postings.
  • Getting to see more cases and more experience that we might have not come across during the course of our education.
  • We get to have more time to share our knowledge and experience with our juniors (provided they trust you).
  • We can to spend more time with whoever before being posted to wherever the hell we get.

When looking at a different perspective, failing isn't so bad. It just might make us better. Failures might just need a little more time to mature and grow and that catch-up growth might just help make us better doctors.

But it might not be fair of me to write this as although I've only had a push-up borderline pass for O&G during my 3rd year, I've never actually failed. Only others who have failed and repeated may better understand how it feels.

Having said that am I ready to eat my own words?

I hope we all will do our best for the upcoming exams. It's certainly not the end.

Monday, April 19, 2010

All The Best!

"Have faith in everything you do! My Prayers =) "

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Abang Zul. Plight of the Society and Health Care.

I received a text message today from Dr Samsul this evening:

"Pesakit name Zulfikli tu sudah pun meninggal dunia ptg tadi."

We met Abang Zul the first time at KK Balok while we were undergoing our Family Medicine posting last year. He came for his regular diabetic check-up there. The last time I saw him and his mother was when he was admitted under nephrology in the medical ward I think earlier this year. He was undergoing dialysis.

The 32 year-old gentleman was diagnosed with diabetes since 11 years-old and had multiple complications related to diabetes including carbuncle, amputation, retinopathy, dyslipidemia, his latest complication being nephropathy and was under follow-up by multiple discipline including medicine, orthopedics, opthalmology, and dermatology. He was on insulin but his glucose level remained poorly controlled.

Ever since he was diagnosed his problems only progressed first taking his limbs, then his eyes, his kidney functions, then finally his life.
I'm not sure of the CoD but it might have been due to nephropathy as he was said to have uremic symptoms. A friend who was oncall in the A&E later told me that she met the patient who was brought in pulseless. Efforts to resuscitate him failed and he was then pronounced dead..

A lot of groups had come to visit him and write our home visit report including my own group.

He lived in Balok, Kuantan in a single storey-wooden kampung style house. His house was built next to a two-storey bungalow belonging to his uncle if I'm not mistaken. Next to it, his house looked like a shack. To get to his place you had to drive next to Muslim cemetery (which hada graffiti painted to its entrance wall saying "Jalan Rempit"). You can't see his house from the road. The first time we went we didn't really believe it was a house. The patient lived alone with his mother. His father had passed away a long time ago. His siblings mostly lived elsewhere raising their own families and working. The patient didn't have his own transportation and relied on his brother who came quite seldom to bring him for his checkups. His income mainly came in the form of contributions from his family members. His mother is unemployed and spent most of her time caring for his debilitated son.

He was a sporting chap. Not to say lively but humble and responded to us well despite having seen many students before us whom I'm sure had asked the same thing over and over. From the outside he didn't looked depressed. But when I asked him how he felt during one of our chats, he did indeed felt sad for his condition (which might be an understatement). I cannot imagine going through a debilitating illness at his age. He was as a friend rightly said, was a fighter surviving as long as he did.

A friend and I along with Dr Samsul and his wife went to visit the family just about an hour ago. I'm not sure if that'll be the last time I'll ever see the place.

I've been to funerals a few times and it was usually full. When we went there I only counted less than 20. It could be that news did not spread quick enough or relatives were living far away. Dr said that if it were a Dato' people would've flocked and ran to pay respect to him. But who was Abang Zul in this world?

We went inside to have a final look. He looked just the same as before. I felt immensely emotional at the time although we were nowhere related except through religion. After a few more minutes we said goodbye. I could only wonder how the mother felt. It might be for the best for her and her son? Only Allah knows.


I think Ive written this something similar about Zul in an older blog post but I guessed I would like to re-highlight the plight of our community and health system.

Poverty is still a major issue in this country.
Education of health is poor.
Health delivery is also still poor.

The way I say it sounds like we live in a poor country. Unlike what we aim to achieve by 2020.

For En. Zul, the fact that he has suffered multiple complications from poorly controlled diabetes reflects the level of health care we have in this country. I am sure this is not an isolated case but just an example of numerous other similar cases of patients without the resources to care for their illness.

I only wish I had the statistics to back my claims but I think reading tabloids and newspaper, just strongly around the rural areas, working in the hospital and district clinic may reveal the reality of our country.

This is indeed pretty sad.

Im not writing this to blame anybody in particular but I think that the community and government is responsible in bringing ourselves out of this sorry state we're in. There will always be something we can contribute. Being an idealist, I believe that small things when done in large amount by a lot of people can make a mountain move. This can only happen when people are conscious of their surroundings and have the conscience to help make a difference.

I'm in a way grateful that my exposure during my medical training had helped a bit in opening my eyes and Im sure it will be opened wider still when I start working. Ive been talking a lot but have I initiated any real actions? I do hope that in the future when I've started working that I can make that difference though the road there will never be smooth and there will always be tribulations.

Meanwhile I can only pray and hope for the best for ALL of us.