when the phone rings at night…

“Shit…not another child abuse???” was the first thought that came to mind when I was awakened by the sound of my phone at 5.22am during my call.

Me : Hello…anything?

Dr.Svetlana : Hello Dr.Wong, this is Svetlana from A&E. I have this 10 years old girl who was brought in dead.  She had embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, according to her records.

Me : Oh yes…is her name X? I remember her…they ran away and opted for traditional treatment.  You’re right, cause of death is the cancer.

Dr.Svetlana : Yes, that’s her. I’m referring to you because her mother wants us to remove the chemoport.


(A chemoport is a device placed under the skin with a tube running into a large vein for easy venous access eg.chemotherapy)

Me : You can just go ahead and remove it.  I can’t offer any help because a chemoport is inserted by surgical and removed by surgical team.  But it shouldn’t be difficult to remove.  You should call surgical, not me.

Dr.Svetlana : Oh…is it? Okay.

30 minutes later…my phone rang again.  I thought, again?

Me : Hello……..yes?

Dr.Svetlana : Hello Dr.Wong, I called surgical and they said they won’t operate on a dead body.

Me : WHAT?  It’s not an operation! They just need to make an incision and take it out. It’s just underneath the skin!

Dr.Svetlana : But they ask me to call the forensics MO, so I called Dr.Yolanda and she said she will do it if you stand-by.

Me : WHAT???  You want me to stand-by for a dead body? For what? What harm can she possibly do?  What does she think I can do? I have never seen a chemoport being inserted or removed!  If anything, surgical should be there to advise her, not me.

Dr.Svetlana : I called surgical already, and he said he doesn’t want to be involved in case of medicolegal issues.

Me : My dear Svetlana, the poor girl died from a cancer that was not treated.  Now her mother just wants us to remove the foreign body from her daughter so that they can proceed with the burial rites.  What medicolegal issues are there???

Dr.Svetlana : So how?

Me : Either you ask surgical to “stand-by” for the forensics MO or you ask the surgical MO how the chemoport is removed and you remove it yourself.

I wanted to tell her don’t call me a third time for a dead body or I will kill you.  Of course I did not.

PS/ In case you were wondering, they were not Russian doctors.  Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals 😉


9 Responses to “when the phone rings at night…”

  1. I wonder who is svetlana…
    Must update me next time i c u


  2. surgical side prob can offer to remove after talking to the parents if they insist in A&E..then things get settled. Simple procedure..


  3. wah good call lo :p … since u were sleeping hehehe ….


  4. omg… really funny lah…standby a dead body..kahkahkah.
    well, mebe not funny at 5am lah..but still. muahaha.
    do i know these russians?


  5. This may lead to better treatments for cancers including childhood cacners
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