I have worked under 1st Malaysian lady doctor Tan Sri Dr Salma Ismail

I have worked at her Klinik Salma group, about 25 yrs ago, under the special arrangement with PERKIM.

Her clinics were grand, luxurious and at the stratagic positions:

One on the 6th. floor of PWTC or Putra World Trade Centre, the HQ of ruling party, UMNO. Another was at the Tabung Haji building. Both are high rise, luxurious buildings and the clinics were also well furnished with expensive furniture. I was like a wild Tarzan just arrive the New York centre, all were amazing because our Burma of General Ne Win had stopped the “Time Machine” for more than two decades. Even our capital Yangon was ‘time freezed’ at the 50’s condition by Ne Win’s pressing of ‘PAUSE’ button on ‘history machine.’ 


Bangunan Lembaga Urusan Tabung Haji

Image via Wikipedia

Another clinic was at the Ampang Park. Because they called Ampang Park, when I went there first time, I thought it was a park or garden, not a shopping centre. And another was at the very busy Puduraya Bus Terminal.

But I managed to work well since the first day to the LAST MEMORABLE DAY/NIGHT at her service. On the first week I had seen the patient suffering from severe migraine. Unfortunately all the migraine medicines were out of stock. So I had no choice but to prescribe the Inderal (Propanolol) 40 mg 1/2 BD and explained him about the multiple use of the medicine and assured that even if there is no Hypertension, there is no danger of hypotension.

But next day in-charge doctor ring me up and informed or rather enquired that there was a complaint to the boss by the patient, why I was prescribing the HPT drug to a non-HPT patient. I just told him that all the migraine medicines and painkillers except PCM and Ponstan Cap were out of stock at that branch and as this pt was clinically suffering from migraine, I have no choice but to give that Inderal and for the usage of the medicine, no need to even search in the Medicine Textbooks but just read the DIM or Drug Index Malaysia and Singapore. After that no one question me anymore.

I had encounter an enquiry like this once in UHKL. Few days after I checked, investigated, treated and discharged an MVA, car accident Malay lady, one senior Lecturer in charge of the Department came to me with the X-Rays and files of the patient. He told me that I ‘missed the ‘Fracture’ of the first rib of that patient and ordered me to call back the pt from the house. Once I looked at the records, I recognized the pt.. I was sure I was not wrong but the lecturer shown me to look at the fracture; I told him that it may look like a fracture but may be an artefact because clinically there were no signs. I told him that the pt was the front passenger of the car, and the accident was not a serious one, as I had treated all the people in the car. I told him that there were even no abrasive wonds on the upper chest, back and neck. As the 1st. Rib was well protected by Clavicle, in serious MVAs only it could be injured and the Brachial Plexus and Sub Clav vessels were just travel very close to the 1st. Rib there must be signs and symptoms of that damage. When I confidently explain him, he dare not push me but warned me that he is going to call the pt and I would suffer the consequence. Pt. refused to obey his urgent call to come back and admit to UHKL because she was well, completely normal and started working. When she came back few days later, they repeated the X-Ray and found out that nothing was wrong. Because of God’s will and help, they always check all the pts’ records regularly but never come to bother me.  

Back to the Klinik Salma group—one of the senior doctor asked my help to cover his duties as he wished to migrate to UK. He studied there and had the recognized degree, GMC registration and one of his relative Specialist had been staying as a citizen in UK helped him to get the job. But if he resigned without notice he had to pay at least 1-2 months’ salary. And he did not wish to ‘burn the bridge’ as he wished to make sure of his status there. So with my consent to cover him, he applied emergency one month leave. Dr Salma was angry but because of my replacement promise, she gave the leave. One month later Datin Salma told me angrily that he just extend leave for another month. Next month she asked me whether I could continue to work as her doctor decided not to come back. After that, few weeks later, that doctor called me and informed that the UK Immigration refused his application, he came back but Datin refused to accept him back, because she was satisfied with my service and my salary was lower as a fleshier when compare to veteran who had earned all the increments. He told me that he could not find that kind of good paying job and he had a big family to support.

I discussed with my wife and decided to sacrifice our job as our family was small, no much obligations, no much car loan, no housing loan and no credit card debts. We strongly believe that if we help others in need, God will definitely help us back.

So I told him my duty roaster and asked to report for work next day as I am going to resign on the spot and Datin had many clinics, no enough doctors, at least have to accept him back as a ‘replacement’ Locum dr or as part time. And she would be angry with me and might have no choice but to accept him back.

We, my wife and I went to Datin’s house at Jl Damai, off Jl Ampang to explain and give the resignation letter. But Datin was attending a function and not yet come back till 12.00 Mid night. We decided that it is not nice to wait and disturb her, especially without any appointment. So we left the resignation letter in her letter box and came back.

Sorry Datin, it was very rude and could be regarded as we had misused your trust. But we have no choise to sfe our friend’s job and after all he was the one who introduced us to Datin.

Sorry Datin, I never get an opportunity to say sorry to you up to now. I hope you could understand and forgive me.

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4 Responses to “I have worked under 1st Malaysian lady doctor Tan Sri Dr Salma Ismail”

  1. LED Torch · Says:

    i had my car loan last year when i bought a Nissan Murano because i really like to have my first car

  2. Prof Faridah Abdul Rashid Says:

    Dear Dr Ko Ko Gyi,
    Where are you now?
    Prof Faridah, USM

    • drkokogyi Says:

      Salaam Prof.,
      Sorry for late reply because I just see your note.
      I am in Wangsa Maju, KL.
      I have a clinic in Alpha Angle Shopping Complex (AEON).
      TQ for contacting me.

  3. drkokogyi Says:

    Salma Ismail, first Malay woman doctor, dies at 95
    KUALA LUMPUR: The first Malay woman who qualified as a medical doctor, Tan Sri Dr Salma Ismail (pic), died of old age at the Pantai Hospital here at 6.15pm Sunday.

    Dr Salma, 95, is survived by two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren.

    Her eldest son Tan Sri Dr Ridzwan Abu Bakar, 64, said his mother was admitted to the hospital recently following breathing difficulty.

    Her remains were taken to No. 6 Jalan Mesra, Off Jalan Aman, here and were expected to be laid to rest at the Muslim Cemetery, Jalan Ampang before the Zohor prayer, said Dr Ridzwan when met by Bernama at his home, here Sunday night.

    Dr Salma created history by becoming the first Malay woman to qualify as a medical doctor in 1949.

    Born in Alor Setar, she had served as a medical officer in Kedah and Selangor in the 1950s and 1960s, among others.

    Dr Salma was conferred the award Panglima Setia Mahkota in 1997 which carries the title Tan Sri.

    “As a woman and a doctor, she lived by the principle, ‘have confidence in yourself, be honest, don’t talk bad about others and give help to those who need it’,” Dr Ridzwan said of his mother. – Bernama

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