The Malignant

Posted: September 21, 2014 by gerardloh in Storyboard

I remember my first day vividly.

It was a fine day in October. Having successfully appealed my choice of hospital, I was quite upbeat, and a little nervous.
This is the day we have been waiting for ever since reading medicine. Am I ready for this? No.

We first assembled at the Jabatan Pentadbiran office, and were soon directed to a small meeting room. There were about 30 of us new House Officers.
Some of them happened to be my university mates, how wonderful.

After the usual filling in forms and other materials, the question was finally dropped upon us. Which department do you want to begin your journey?

Which department? Hmm..Some of them started chattering – Oh, I must start with medical first, then I have the basics for the remaining postings. Oh I want Surgical first, because I love Greys Anatomy….and things like that.

Me? Absolutely no idea. I was never someone who planned anything. Eventually, it came down to lucky draws. My gosh, at that moment, all I was hoping for was not to be separated with my girl (wife now, eventually we completed all the postings together 🙂 ).

Alas, we drew the lots, tabled the results. Orthopaedics it was! And the same for my girl and uni mates. Here we go!

So we left the office and were instructed to head to our respective departments – The Pejabat Pakar.
Finding our way to the office, I saw photos of previous housemen, pictures of our future Bosses, it was intense.
After meeting the PA and filling more forms, we headed to the wards to meet the House Officer Captain. (The usual steps when moving to a new dept)

At the ward, we met the house captains. Dr Annuar and Rina. He welcomed us and gave an interesting briefing – the proper attire, what time we start, and that we are all colleagues, no need to call each other by Dr___ , simple things like that.  Next came another revelation. He had to divide us into 2 groups. He needed 4 brave people to join him at the female ward, while the rest, to the male ward. The thing was, there was a certain Doctor let’s call her DR L. She was the scariest Medical Officer in the department. Oh sh*t. I heard these stories before…bosses giving the hair dryer treatment and all. But somehow, I ended up volunteering along with my 3 uni mates.

So off we trotted to ward 5C. Looking left and right, we saw them, the patients..some with weird equipment stuck to their foot, some with no limbs!  Some with rotten hands, and what was that smell??

And then there she was, Dr L, putting on a stern, black face and starring at each one of us. I could feel the aura. OMG, she looked like she wanted to eat us up.
After a nervy Hello~ from us, she put on a forced smile, and then looked away without a word. Oh sh*t what did I get myself into.

The rest of the day was about following rounds, and learning to use the computer system,  attempting our first procedures. It wasnt easy!  We started tagging – working from 7am till 10pm everyday, for 2 weeks. Deprieved of sleep and proper meals, we strived and struggled, trying to read thick text books. There were no guidelines for us new “taggers”.

At last, we passed our first assessment and started the full time HO job. Fortunately, we had very friendly and helpful senior HOs – Annuar, Rita, Vijay, Sheng, Munira, Hidir, Adilia, Syed…just to name a few.


Months went on, there were interesting encounters, Grand ward rounds, interesting cases, assessments, VIVA…I started writing notes for HOs …and then came the end of the posting.

We had a farewell party, and plenty of fun. When the last portion of chicken briyani was eaten and the last sirap drunk, then came a funny question for all of us.

Who was your favourite MO?

Looking back on the first day, and then today, there was no doubt, my answer was Dr L!
Ofcourse we were terrified at the sight of her at first, eventually she softened and became my favourite MO, and friend.


That’s it. My first day and first posting

It has always been my favourite moments in my HO life.  The pace at orthopedics was perfect for newcomers like us to practise basic procedures.
The medical officers and specialist were always approachable and helpful.

But it wasn’t easy at first. That’s when I decided to compile notes for the newcomers.

I was never the brilliant HO, but as I completed my postings, I always left them with a piece of my heart – the HO guide.


How was your first day? Your first encounter with the fierce MO?



  1. ahmad says:

    Thank you dr gerard Loh for this great project.those stuff are really2 helpful for me as future grad.i believe there a lot of silent reader like me really want to thank you for this great effort..please keep sharing with us.. Thank you!!

  2. nurhafis zainol says:

    Tq doctor for sharing. May peace be upon you as there is no way we can repay your willing to share your knowledge to us. Tq doc

  3. oursparks says:

    Hi Dr Gerald! Thank u 4 d wonderful Info! I’m a mo working in hkl now, I’m wondering how is surgical hospital ampang? How is the tagging?

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