REVIEW: Do not go to this ENT doctor – Dr. Koh Tat Ngee (ENT)

It’s always more pleasant to recommend someone than to **not recommend** someone. But today, it is my duty to let others know about this unpleasant doctor so that they vote their dollars on a more worthy experience.

I recently visited Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur Medical Center for an ear infection. Dr. Koh Tat Ngee was the only doctor available, the others were fully booked for the next two weeks. NOT RECOMMENDED.

The medical center itself receives quite a lot of positive reviews, but this specific doctor is not to be recommended.

IN SHORT: Very very stubborn, cocky, arrogant, insecure, and unpleasant kind of doctor. The kind that thinks he knows everything and that patients are idiots with wallets that know nothing. A better bet if you want a good ENT doctor in that hospital for a better experience is  Dr. Arasa Raj SinnathurayI cannot personally vouch for him because I never visited him, but he was booked for two weeks when I called, and I suspect there’s a reason to that 🙂 I hope I’m right. But definetely, I had a very negative experience with Dr. Koh Tat Ngee

Now if you want to know more this is what happened:
Dr. Koh Tat Ngee is extremely rude, unpleasant and very unprofessional. And this is not “the cultural gap”. I have been around Malaysians and Chinese for years to know that his perceived rudeness is due to him personally and by no means to any cultural gap. Like everywhere, doctors are people, and they come in different flavours. When he seats you on his lying chair, he enters in his “chain factory” mode and proceeds very fast and a lot of manoeuvres, and moves/spins you on his tables so roughly as if you were a piece of meat lying there, no politeness at all, no letting you know he’s going to spin the chair, just a total rude brute.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suggest that this doctor wants to process as many clients as possible and make money faster. You are meat, meat with a wallet. And if you’re white, you’re exquisite meat, with an exquisite wallet. From the behaviour he had, that was also an obvious one, the only hint of a smile we saw on this frustrated man was when he received white foreign patients. Sadly, it’s a common thing in Malaysia, and I somehow had gotten use to not being shocked every time that happened. So let’s not even focus on this.

As a doctor, he performed very poorly, luckily he had some good tools. As he was rushing to “process me”, I tried very hard to explain to him the background of the infection.

Ok, when you get an ear infection, it’s either fungal or bacterial. He was going to put me on antibiotics and was utterly convinced it was bacterial, without even hearing my story or checking me. Like he has some super guessing powers. On my side, knowing the context I got the infection from (research experiments around composting using fungi) I was certain it was fungal, and spore bits had been visible on ear buds, so IT WAS AT LEAST FUNGAL. The good thing about looking for evidence is that it reveals a truth people can agree on. But he kept interrupting me the way you interrupt a child who doesn’t know what they’re saying, too proud and insecure, he tried to patronize me with his knowledge, explain the baby basics of ear infections when I happen to be a trained researcher, who had done quite a bit of reading on this, including in recent science journals.

After he finally discovered that, as I had told him 100 times, it was fungal he “cover matcho” (acted cocky to save face) and prescribed me drops. Now, important detail, my eardrums were pierced. There are very clear directions given by doctors to NOT use drops on a pierced eardrum. So like anyone who knows this, I was surprised, and double-checked if it was OK to use his drops in pierced eardrums. If it was a new formula all he had to say is “It’s usually true but these are special drops that you can put on a pierced eardrum”. If the advice I had received from other doctors was mistaken, all he had to say is “The advice about not putting drops in pierced eardrums is mistaken, it’s one of these things that aren’t quite true and become dogma once they’re spread.” But instead, after struggling to provide a satisfactory explanation for the curious, he literally said (brace yourself)

He literally said “I don’t want to hear questions anymore, my hair is grey enough”. You would expect that kind of answer from someone who’s job is being questioned, or if you’d been extremely annoying to them that they don’t want to hear your voice anymore. But I asked only that question “I read and was told by doctors that ear drops shouldn’t go on a pierced eardrum, so is it OK to let sit the drop until they enter the ear canals?”.

“I don’t want to hear questions anymore, my hair is grey enough”. He even dared to give me another appointment for two weeks later to “check”.

If I was a skilled doctor I would welcome questions and patients who come with valuable background information on what is going on, and who did their bit of research to understand what they have. In my experience (around scientists, not doctors) the attitude he showed is a standard attitude of people with strong ego when they are not too sure about what they’re talking about.

We pay these people, isn’t normal to understand what they are doing and prescribing us?

Anyway, now I understand why he was the only doctor available, and you’re warned.

Now some tips on your next ENT visit for ear infections:
– Get an ENT doctor who’s equipped with a vaccuum pump for ear canals, they might all have that I’m not sure, I can only tell it did a lot of good to remove all the junk that accumulated there.
– If you’re going to go with a first round of drops, look for NEO DECA (5ml), probably costs 5 to 10 RM like most drops. The active ingredients are Dexamethasone 21-Phophate 0.1% and Neomycin Sulphate 0.5%, just copied the label, so haven’t had time to research on these but from what I was told it’s both antibacterial and antifungal.