NUH cancels stage 4 cancer patient’s crucial PET scan for failing to pay deposit; good samaritan comes to the rescue

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National University Hospital (NUH) reportedly cancelled a crucial PET scan for stage 4 cancer patient, Ridwan Bin Aman, after he was unable to pay the $600 deposit in time. The 53-year-old needed the scan before a bone marrow transplant surgery could be arranged.

Local activist Gilbert Goh publicised Ridwan’s plight on Facebook and wrote that the hospital required the deposit to be paid in cash and that Ridwan could not use Medisave or Medifund:

 

“No Medisave or Medifund can be used and it has to be cold hard cash. In Singapore, sometimes its really stressful if you are poor and sick with a dreadful illness.
“Mind you NUH is supposed to be a government-aided hospital but it has turned profit-making after all the upgrading work.”

Thankfully, a good samaritan reached out to Ridwan and offered him $700 so that he could undergo the scan immediately.

NUH has since rescheduled Ridwan’s scan for 8.55am tomorrow.

A concerned citizen also brought the issue to NUH’s attention through the hospital’s Facebook page before the good samaritan stepped in.

The hospital had said that it would reach out to Ridwan.

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291 comments

  1. If can afford buy a better medical insurance. Snap the cover and show to hospital staff. When I had accident and about to be admitted many asked me what job I hold. ??? After settling down in hospital bed, same question popped up.
    First I was in pain and then kind of not myself after administration of pain medication. Could they not asked me directly what insurance cover I had?

  2. Alvin Kuo says:

    Would urge fellow readers to see things in a larger context. Sharing from my experience a couple of years ago.

    My dad diagnosis from CT scan is stage 3 cancer and we were advised to consider to go for a PET scan. The doctor did mention the cost is quite expensive but a PET scan can tell more accurately on the spread from the molecular activity of the cells. Should the spread is more extensive, the cancer would be considered stage 4 and treatment options would be limited and better for the elderly not to be treated unless he is very fit. The doctor did remind it is not a must, but good to have, considering the high cost of such scans.

    From what I understand, the operating cost of a PET scan machine is far higher than CT scan, and thus hospitals need to maximise their usage so that cost can be kept affordable for all patients. There are cases where patient don’t turn up for such scans for some reasons and for every missed appointment, it means a lost chance to recover cost and another patient losing a chance to do a scan earlier.

    Thus, the hospital would need to collect a cash deposit to ensure patient turn up for the scan. Why $600 cash? The scan at that time was $1,800 and only $1,200 was reimbursable by CPF, so probably that’s how they determine the need to collect the remainder in cash.

  3. Don’t you guys don’t know ? All Government Hospital Motto is : Tell all Patient To Bring CASH to Deposit before proceed for Treatment on your next appointment . No CASH No Talk ! Good Luck

  4. Auguste Ng says:

    My father had two open heart surgery at NUH. In both cases, we received high government subsidy and in the end each operation which was around $20K was reduced to only $500 cash payment and it was only billed to me after the operation and discharge. We were never hassled to pay or ensure there is enough before treatment was given. Our family is very grateful. Let’s be fair and not judge unless we have personally experienced. Once the financial situation is shared with the hospital, they will recommend that we discuss options with the business office. My dad had similar experiences at TTSH as well and the govt subsidies also helped us a lot.

  5. Government hospitals do not use whatsapp to communicate with their patients about their appointments. Can anyone answer why there is a tick next to the time stamp at the second message which is the reply of the patient? Sms has no tick for confirmation of messages being sent and received. No?

  6. Strange progress for a 1st world when developing country like Philippines are pressing on a bill to hospital to accept and accommodate any patients that step at their door without any deposit needed…
    Keep it up with this and we will go backwards soon..

  7. It’s really sickening to read this. Please NUH please do be agile in situation like this. Patient couldn’t afford the 600 upfront cash which means he might not even have money for a decent meal. Please be more humane. Government Hospital not Private hospital not business dealing here. Life and death here!!!

  8. Likely he wasn’t aware of the admin matter of how to get claim or he misunderstood the point brought forth to him. Why didn’t this site check with NUH ? Interesting to polarize further . Seeing unrelated matters here , about 8 dollar by pass and stuff. My surgery is FOC cos I work for my insurance .
    I have my medishield as my strength and I don’t need to withdraw

  9. Lim LG says:

    IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL OF YOU!!

    WHEN DOCTOR HAS DIAGNOSED ONE’S ILLNESS LIKE CANCER IS “TERMINAL STAGE” OR

    ONE IS CERTIFIED “UNFIT” FOR WORK PERMANENTLY” BY TGE DOCTOR, AND

    IF YOU’RE COVERED UNDER DEPENDENT PROTECTION SCHEME (DPS), YOU CAN APPLY TO:

    1) CPFB TO RELEASE YOU CPF MONIES TO YOU AND
    2) APPLY TO YR RESPECTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY TO
    CLAIM YR DPS.

  10. That is a problem. Today I was told my CT scan will cost estimate 1110 but I am only allow to use 300 for 1 year only. There rest I need to fork out my own money. When my medisave have money still cannot use why?

  11. Facebook Profile photo
    Jumper Gow ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Let’s face it the NEW Singapore Inc. after LKY pass away is all about CASH MONEY$$$
    It’s becoming more and more like China, sick get thrown out of hospital if you have no upfront CASH MONEY$$$.

  12. Even with an upcoming election for an Indian-Malay president, they reject this medical procedure for a Malay. Maybe they are setting this case up for our compassionate future president makcik to intervene, to show Singaporeans they made the right decision..

  13. Facebook Profile photo
    Leo Shaolin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Man has stage 4 cancer , no cash but cannot use Medisave?
    If he gets to terminal stage without immediate treatment and help of good Samaritan , what would the Govt expect him to do with the balance in his Medisave?
    Common folks have more compassion than the overpaid Ministers who have been elected to serve them.

  14. Xue Yun says:

    I hope this comment can be passed on to Mr Ridhwan. To cope with the medical expenses, he can apply to CPF to withdraw all his CPF monies in special and ordinary account under exceptional circumstance. This is not publicised by CPF so few may know on this policy. However, Medisave cannot be withdrawn.

    I personally encountered how cold hearted our Singapore medical industry is. Doctors that treat patient as nothing but one of the statistic. Welfare worker that do screening worse than a bank KYC process.

  15. Eric Tanth says:

    The govt has overspent and require our CPF money to lock longer. Other option is to unlock the reserve that why they appoint Halimah as pet president.

  16. Facebook Profile photo
    William Lim ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    why is nuh so heartless? why can’t refer him to medical social workers? what has happened to medifund?
    this is standard practice at most if not all gomen hospitals. just blindly follow procedure. and all the funds are there for show.
    they will try to make sure you don’t get the grant. and if you get it, the bastard doctors will give excuses and make sure you don’t get the subsidy.
    i know, my fren went through it. i helped to write the letter to get the grant.

  17. Johnny Tan says:

    Singapore is run like a Corporation and NUH is part of that corporation. Cold, Hard and Money oriented Corporation. Money Talks!

    And that’s our money that they’re depriving us from using!

  18. Facebook Profile photo
    Joe Tan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Is the system caused the problem and such system cannot be operated staff whom refuse to think or just follow blindly…recent visit to government hospital I have seen doctors is more concern to key in the data in the computer than advising the patient…All this system make the queue longer…

  19. Lim LG says:

    MRI SCANNING AT TTSH ALSO HV TO PAY IN CASH ABOUT $700, MEDISAVE NOT ALLOWED TOO.

    BELIEVE IT IS THE SAME FOR ALL OTHER COMMUNITY HOSPITALS BUT NOT TOO SURE FOR PTE HOSPITALS.

    BUT BEFORE THE PATIENT IS TRULY AND FINALLY CONFIRM DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER, THE DOCTOR WOULD WANT THE PATIENT TO GO FOR SCANNING FIRST TO DETERMINE IT.

    AND THIS VERY FIRST SCANNING CHARGES OF $600-700 HV TO BE PAID BY CASH, NO MEDISAVE IS ALLOWED.

    BUT WOULD EVERY PATIENT HAS THE MEANS TO PAY FOR THIS VERY FIRST SCANNING CHARGES TO DETERMINE WHETHER ONE HAS CANCER?

    BELIEVE THERE ARE SOME WHO JUST CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY BY CASH OF THE SAID AMOUNT, JUST FORGET ABOUT TREATMENT ALTOGETHER.

    IT IS TOTALLY A “FLAWED” POLICY!! MEDISAVE IS OUR CPF MONIES BUT ROTTON GOVT JUST “RESTRICTS” US.

    ONCE CONFIRMED A CANCER PATIENT, ONLY THEN MEDISAVE IS ALLOWED TO PAY FOR ALL SUBSEQUENT SCANNING.

    AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT CANCER PATIENT WOULD HV TO UNDERGO MANY SCANNING AT INTERVALS OF EVERY FEW MONTHS.

    AND THE HOSPITAL WILL “AUTOMATICALLY” MAKE THE PATIENT SIGN FOR THE MEDISAVE AUTHORIZATION FORM DURING ADMISSION.

  20. This Society is like that damn cruel. No money no talk. U die yr problem. Is always till someone escalate up then they will LL attend to yr feedback and act like they care… we condemned the way how those poor patients are been treated.

  21. Robert Tan says:

    Want to do scan as a subsidised patient, yes u can, your appt will be 4 mths later due to the long waiting list. If want to do scan immediately, yes u can, need to pay more as a private patient. No money no talk. This has been the way how our restructured Hospitals operate.

  22. This is SINGAPORE !! Foreigners get education scholarships but not the citizens. Foreigners get the job but not the citizens. A RICH COUNTRY but VERY VERY POOR in governing towards the citizens. I hope all the MINISTERS will get CANCER. You all deserve the karma.

  23. Strongly agreed Medisave money is on the mercy of the CPF board / MOM to give you or your family members. It is not your money, when you request they will come out with a stereo answer ‘ for your future use ‘ ie. To buy coffin. The limit of $450 allowable claim per day was set on a decade ago till now no review, but the medical expenses review every month. No money to deposit ‘ No Talk’, just hope the money can take out by the family on time to buy coffin instead of using for medical treatment. Now all hospitals all are money face! They threaten to use ah loong to collect after final reminder even just $ 30. This is the concern of all Singaporean and we hope government can review the use of Medisave base in case to case basis not to use the standard phrase ‘ for future use’. Policy makers please look after our citizens. Thank you.

    1. Steven Lim says:

      It has to be misinformation- it comes from The Independent Singapore!
      The rule in Singapore is treatment comes first – always has been!
      There must be some undisclosed details here. See the amount of negativity this generated? Since when did we have this type of problems before in Singapore ? It cannot be a the truth – there must be some non disclosure to the real story!

  24. Vonn Lim says:

    Bone morrow Transplant cost more than $150K for C class patient. (Easily wipe out 2 to 3 person’s medisave)
    After transplant needs min 2 weeks of in house nurse home care.
    Day care $400 a day, overnight X2.
    After two weeks family member must take very good care cos patient will be lying on bed for more than one to two mths.
    The above mentioned is exclude medications and some medical needs… and survival rate may be less than 70%. Not sure if Mr Ridwan had been council by the doctor..

    Sad truth @ SGH …
    (My bro, no choice, but to give up treatment)

    1. Alvin Kuo says:

      June Serav, I believe you are referring to their public hospitals. Don’t think they cover bone marrow transplant at low cost. And if you seen their hospitals, the conditions are quite far from SG ones.

    2. Alvin Kuo says:

      Agree, bone marrow transplant is really financially costly, so it’s really up to patient and family to decide their affordability, whether to pour all their life savings for a chance, or better to accept and let family members more financially secure.

    3. Annie Tan says:

      Sad to say but I still stick to the fact that if I ever get cancer, I will not receive treatment. I would rather spend my remaining days With my family and have a farewell party. Why burden the living?

    4. The same with my umcle. Poor people make a difficult decision to die by giving up on treatment because no money and love for family members so not to burden them

    5. June Serav says:

      U know.. in msia… it would have been very affordable. Their A&E only 1rm. Yes they pay higher tax but they dont need to worry so much abt insurance $$$ and crazy medical bills. The poor really can see all doctors and afford every type of treatment.

  25. Leo LB says:

    Till now, can’t understand the fcuking logic why we can’t pay medical bills in full using Medisave. They (PAP) think we’re all cash rich? That’s why many Singaporeans rather die a slow death cos they cunt pay cash upfront and btw, not every Singaporean has insurance policies that pay for medical either

    1. You are right Leo. I am one of those people who cannot own a medical insuarance policy. I am a type 1 diabetes sufferer depending on insulin injections since i was a young man and the life insuarance industry in Singapore says i am not entitled to such insuarance coverage. Looks like, i am a victim of cruel fate even with my own medisave money in the CPF account.

  26. This is common nowadays in Singapore, every taxi driver or coffeeshop talk is same, you can die but never get sick, for we can’t be to pay the hospital bills.

  27. Mike Lo says:

    Maximum Medisave usable is $400 per year and do he needed to top it up with a mere $200. He could have approach MSW for help or tap into his Medishield Life

  28. Chun Chew says:

    This is the Money World NO MONEY NO TALK
    HOSPITAL SUPPOSED TO SAVE LIFE BUT NOWADAY HOSPITAL IS A BUSINESS FIRM MAKING MONEY
    WHERE IS THE CHARITY DONATED MONEY OR SOCIAL WELFARE TO HELP POOR SINGAPOREANS
    WHAT THE OLD MAN SAID IS TRUE!!
    YOU CAN DIE BUT NOT SICK????

  29. Facebook Profile photo
    Hisham Haron ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    According to the Minister of Health, you need to seek permission before you can use your MEDISAVE funds for scans and its on a case-to-case basis. The ministry have to make sure that you are really, really poor and there’s no one else to pay your bills then they will allow you to use your MEDISAVE funds. These sucks!!!

  30. I really don’t understand why patients have to fork out cash when some of these patients have money in their Medisave Accounts. Further more they may also be covered by Eldershield and MediShield or whatever nonsense the government had introduced. I would like to share my experience when my late sister was admitted to Changi Hospital. I had to fork out cash although she still had a good amount of money in her Medisave.

  31. YI LU FA says:

    I hope WP has seen this news . I have not heard WP MP talk about this type of cases in parliament, not even on topic of releasing CPF saving back to the citizens , we citizens do not want to rely on the government for help , but because we r unable to get back our CPF saving .

    1. Singapore and opposition parties? Screw the present lot of opposition people in Parliament. I have yet to see another opposition member like JBJ in Parliament. A man with balls of steel. We only have an Opposition in Parliament these days to make things look democratic. Thats all.

  32. Very uncompssionate government profit oriented agency…..really need to change the government if things continue to rot at the top. Our erected government has the obligation to look after all Singaporeans. Especially the sick, unfortunates and the poor…

  33. 李紳華 says:

    Someone only pay $8 for a heart-bypass, how come a PET scan at Gov restructured Hospital need to pay $600? Something is very wrong somewhere…

    1. Low Jerry says:

      Jeffrey Cheong While agreeing with you, like to remind that more hardship for many are akan datang(coming soon). Housing is one example now they have to increase so call “GRANT” . Wonder is this solution is a trap??. This $600 deposit issue had happen many decades ago and there was an outcry why still happen again.

    2. The different is that guy who paid $8 for heart bypass is he can come out with a lot of policies to help the government milk all our money. So useful whereas others to the government are useless so must pay e bomb to live. PAP policy!!

  34. James Njoo says:

    IN SPITE OF WHAT HE SAID THAT HE WANTED SINGAPOREANS TO BE HEALTHY AND LIVE LONGER AND YET THE PIONEER GENERATION WHO ARE SICKLY AND NO LONGER GAINFULLY EMPLOYED HAVE TO PAY CASH AND ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THEIR MEDISAFE AND MEDSHIELD TO PAY FOR THEIR FULL HOSPITALISATION AND OTHER MEDICAL BILLS IN THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS OR POLYCLINICS. WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL AND AMUSING WORLD Of THE PIONEER GENERATION.

  35. Ace Chew says:

    When human lives are no longer valued then it is time to change the system instead of being in the system that measure $$$ against what type of treatment is administered. In order to change the system got to get rid of the shit outfit we have now that knows only $$$ and rule without compassion.

  36. Dave Tai says:

    No money no PET scan. And medisave is not allow to use for payment.
    Prove of full payment before scan otherwise, they just cancel appointment . This bitter experience, I have encounter. in SGH.

  37. The government’s policies have made most Singaporeans life very miserable in every aspect of their lives. Everyone is finding it more difficult in just meeting their basic needs for their families and themselves. While most families are suffering, our ministers are living a luxurious life style by paying themselves millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses from the hardworking taxpayers.

  38. Shanon Tam says:

    Money is all the gov thinks …..In china , when critical patients who came from farming family has no money to pay for treatment … medical group will help to rise funds to aid these patients . Shame on you !!!!

  39. The government really needs to reflect on what is the purpose of a Medisave. It’s an extremely cruel to do this towards a powerless citizen by not able to use even his own money. Very sad indeed!

  40. Yeow H Tan says:

    NUH ..money face !!!!..let the patient scan first and after that help him canvas for the fund…when has Singapore hospital become heartless and money minded ? Sad..sad…this is Singapore…sad..sign..

    1. All along it has been like that. I had a spine surgery done in 2012. Paid cold hard cash of $800 to do the scan. Surgery opted for C class at SGH. Upfront $1200 to the receptionist before going to operating theatre. Only reimburse me the $1200 3 weeks later. This is what we get being a Singaporean!

  41. SINGAPORE is all about $ and cents. Your money must be tied up and there are limits to what you can use for what and when. Our money but we are not owners of our money. Medisave will most likely be consumed by a forced medishield cover and the day one falls ill the funds wld have bn depleted. Its tragic indeed.

    1. Lim LG says:

      SUGGEST NO FUNERAL WAKE AT ALL.

      AFTER DEATH, IMMEDIATELY BUY A COFFIN AND CREMATE ON THE SAME DAY.

      SAVE UP UNNECESSARY EXPENSES AND BEQUEATH YR MONIES TO YR SURVIVNG FAMILY MEMBERS.

    1. Doctors hospitals and all orgs connected to healthcare are sadly business centres or business and patients are customers. The sad state Singaporeans face daily. Patients are only numbers. Doctors today are quick to prescribe surgery to enhance the number of surgeries they perform during their term. Sad but true.

    1. Low Jerry says:

      It seem and is confirmed money is more important to the government than our people. It seem we are living in vain for this government and the sacrifices we make are wasted.

  42. Henre Tan says:

    Lock up all people’s money and expect them to pay cash or die. Why the fark are medisaves not useable? It’s suppose to be for medical bills, so why not useable? Wtf…

    1. Please note that this is not the first time or last time brought up by many feeling frustrated n angry! But our unhappiness n disappointments fell on silent ears for years!

    2. June Serav says:

      Exactly. Dont understand the farking logic. Very prompt to ask for money but very hard to dispense. All locked up and emergency cant use… die already all those money keep for fark when all ppl wanted was to live.

  43. Its best to have one poor cancer patient die in front of the hospital so that social media can help wake the bloody governments brains.
    If no drama, gov will not take action. Come drama!

    1. June Serav says:

      Yea. They wont bother. I bet many cases already just went unreported. Even for malpractice… u can never win the gov hospital. Otherwise CGH can close down already with all the lawsuits.

  44. Vee St says:

    Is this the 1st case???? Of course not! Countless cases of people unable to get medication, treatment or simple antibiotics because they dont have cash but having all that “untouchable” money in their cpf and medisave…. Your hard earned sweat over the years but you have no say or authority over your own money… Wow…. CPF and medisave is still one of the best inventions by the government… In 2nd place of course is the invention of COE…

  45. Edwin Kwan says:

    This is an example of the type of efficient clinical culture we have created, with scholars and civil servants concerned about any cracks in processes and policies. Whilst that is understandable, it has created heartlessness in the system. And unwilling or lack of thought of junior staff escalating the issue higher up for remediation.

  46. Show us your money first, then we show you our care is the clearest message that’s being sent out from our very Public Hospitals in Singapore. Care to comment Minister for Health? I do not think you will.

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