A sad March

On Monday, March 18, 2013, one newspaper reported that ... "A 29-year-old man has been charged with the gruesome murder of his parents after his elder brother had reported the couple missing. ... The decapitated heads of the parents were discovered in a flat in Tai Kok Tsui ..."

"The son is said to have considered killing himself weeks ago after racking up debts buying shares and warrants but changed his mind later after talking with his friend."

Another murder was reported about the same time as follows: "... the suspect described himself as a "lonely swordsman" - a character from the Hong Kong comic series Chinese Hero, which depicts an orphan swordsman. ... He was said to have broken up with his girlfriend recently. According to reports, the suspect and his friend were scolded by suspect's mother around 3am for making too much noise from computer games. This was followed by an argument during which the suspect allegedly stabbed his mother while his friend attacked the father. Neighbors reported to police after hearing the screams."

"The father was certified dead at Tuen Mun Hospital while the mother remains in serious condition with neck and arm injuries."

The aforesaid news did give a shock to everyone in Hong Kong. Such repeated incidents of killing parents by angry sons should have made a record in the history of Hong Kong. Is this a warning signal to the whole community or even the whole world that something has gone wrong deep inside the mind of our next generations? Do the tilted economy with huge rich and poor discrepancy, the Insatiable craving for monetary gain and the shattered family relationships account for such tragedy? If yes, what can we do to savage such animal, or even worse than animal like behavior of mankind on this piece of land.

We are taught care for our patients. Nowadays the patients' groups advocate patient centre care in medical services. Should we in return also preach family centre care too in our daily medical practice? As doctors, saving lives is our salient duty and we should try whatever way we can to achieve that. As primary health care workers, I am sure you can help modify such behavior by merely spending few more minutes with our patients to understand their concerns to prevent suicide as well as murder too by picking up early sign of such intention and acting accordingly afterwards.

Another sad story is the drastic measure taken by the Government in controlling the movement of milk powder for those under age 3 across the border north. According to the Government, this is necessary so to salvage our Hong Kong babies.

In one occasion with the pharmacists, I was told that actually such milk smuggling and subsequent shortage of milk powder are intended results of plot of the milk companies. The milk companies are trying every means to raise the price of the milk powder year after year for profits. According to the plot, there would not be any backfire if the price is raised in situation when everyone is craving for the milk products. What a clever plot!

If one can sit down and think, one should not be too surprised that the milk companies win in every scenario including the present one. The normal marketing technique that most companies endorse is: Not to let the volume of sales increase too tremendously in a short period of time. In other words, the milk companies would not answer the urgent call from the Government to import a tremendous volume of milk powder to bury their own futures. If not for this marketing strategy, I think there would be endless supply of milk powder to mothers in Hong Kong and elsewhere. Then everybody would be happy with the great revenues from the North and there would be no such drastic measure from the Government. Am I right? I wish I was wrong.

Further sad story is about the Chickenpox vaccine. There is reported shortage since the end of last year. With the craving for Hong Kong brand products from the north as mentioned above in milk products, every consumer item thought to be good for babies would surely be the target of parents and even merchants too. The shortage or even stoppage of supplies of Chickenpox vaccine in Hong Kong is perpetuated by the introduction of approved new requirements of 2 shots instead of 1; and the recent announcement of the Government in the introduction of the Chickenpox vaccine early next year in the Childhood immunization program. One additional factor, as I was told, is the smuggling of Chickenpox vaccines to the north! This is unbelievable, if that is true, I think the pharmaceutical companies should bear the ultimate responsibility. I do hope that the drug firms do not be just money orientated. They should put the kids of Hong Kong in their first priority in service.

The last sad story is luckily not too sad. I was given to understand that a contract medicine company, namely, PremierCare Limited (PC) has not paid wages to their panel doctors over one year and worse still, the company cannot be contacted through the usual telephone lines or even hotlines. This arouse alert in our Doctors' Rights Committee as in the affair of Asia Medinet nearly 13 years ago. We immediately gathered information from our members who are also PC panel doctors and called PC for explanation but in vain. We subsequently reported to the media and thanks god, within a couple of days, PC declared they would close their office and paid up all the wages to doctors. Up till now, all doctors were informed of their wages paid into their respective bank accounts. Let's hope that the transactions are genuine and hope that this story turns out to have a happy ending.

I do wish I don't have to write sad stories often. And wish you all the best!

Dr. Yeung Chiu Fat Henry