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Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Lankan doctor recounts a happy professional experience

Kumar Gunawardene is the latest contributor to the blog. He had sent me an e-mail with this article that had been published in the Island newspaper. Dr. Chiam has some resemblance to Revo Drahaman. I have reproduced it below.

A tale of a City State and extraordinary medical services available there

A Lankan doctor recounts a happy professional experience

 

article_image
Dr. Paul Chiam

Drs. Chua and Kumar Gunawardane

by Dr Kumar Gunawardane
Senior Cardiologist,
The Townsville Hospital, Queensland, Australia.  

Recently my wife and I accompanied a close relative to Singapore where she had complex cardiac surgery. Being a cardiologist of long standing in an Australian Teaching Hospital I knew what to expect in terms of management; I was acutely aware of the seriousness of the problem too and the risks and complications of such treatment..

We were very fortunate to have been recommended an exceptional young cardiologist, Dr PAUL CHIAM and through him a gifted cardiac surgeon DR CHUA YEOW LENG.

I first met Dr Paul with the patient’s husband and subsequently with the patient and her family. Prior to that I researched his background and also reflected on the attributes of a good physician - qualities that I would look for if I was the patient; also the traits that I had observed in the great and good physicians that I had worked with in Sri Lanka, UK, Australia and USA.

 I was thoroughly impressed on both counts.

The Internet was a mine of information. We learnt that "Dr Paul Chiam was a general and interventional cardiologist at The Heart and Vascular Centre Mount Elizabeth Hospital. He was also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of SingaporeYong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Visiting Consultant at the National University Heart Centre Singapore. He was previously Senior Consultant at the Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore and Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore.

He graduated with the MBBS degree from the National University of Singapore  in 1996 and was on the Dean’s list for being one the top students in the final MBBS examination. He was also on the Dean’s List in the third professional examination in 1995.He obtained the MRCP (UK) in February 2001.He then obtained the Master of Medicine degree from the University of Singapore in June 2001 where he was awarded the Gordon Ransome Gold Medal for being the top examination candidate.

He began Cardiology specialization in 2002 at the National Heart Centre, Singapore. In 2006 he was awarded a Health Manpower Development Pan scholarship to train at the renowned Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute of New York in complex coronary angioplasty, carotid artery angioplasty and stenting, peripheral angioplasty and structural heart disease (heart valve ) interventions.

Dr Chiam performed the first Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) in Asia in 2009. He subsequently became the first Asian proctor for Edwards Lifesciences  TAVR program, and the Medtronic Core Valve program .He has trained new centres in South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Japan.

Dr Chiam is well recognized in the field of interventional cardiology and has been invited to perform cases during "live transmissions" in complex coronary interventions, peripheral artery interventions and mitral valvuloplasties in Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangaladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan and China

He has published extensively in top cardiovascular journals. He won the Sing Health Publish Award in 2012 for a paper published in a major cardiovascular journal.

He is currently the Co-chair of the Scientific Committee of the Asian Pacific Society of Interventional Cardiology. He is also a Member of the American College of Cardiology Peripheral Vascular Disease Section Leadership Council.

The procedures he performs include coronary angioplasty including trans radial angioplasty (via wrist arteries), leg artery angioplasty, carotid (neck) artery angioplasty, kidney artery angioplasty, mitral valve ballooning, aortic valve ballooning, minimally invasive aortic valve replacement (TAVI),minimally invasive mitral valve repair (Mitraclip), minimally invasive leaky valve repair (paravalvular leak closure) and left atrial appendage closure( for irregular heart rhythms)"

This was indeed remarkable and I looked forward very much to meeting this cardiologist who was at the cutting edge in his field.

As an individual on the other side of the fence on this occasion, I and the family were looking for a cardiologist who was not only very skilled and confident about it but also a focused professional who was caring and com passionate, respectful and willing to value the patient’s and family’s wishes in the decision making process.

Dr Paul Chiam satisfied us on all these aspects. He was a good listener but also asked a lot of questions which made us feel that here was someone who treated each patient as an individual. The problem and the treatment, along with the risks and possible complications were explained in clear and simple terms. Needless to say we went along readily with his suggestions for investigations followed by open heart surgery and the choice of Surgeon.

Dr Chua Yeow Leng apart from being an excellent surgeon was also a very warm and compassionate human being. The patient had a very good outcome. She was out of the hospital in a week and returned to Sri Lanka after another week.

From a professional viewpoint I feel that both the cardiologist and the cardiac surgeon, their support staff and the hospital were world class and could be recommended unreservedly. The Doctors embodied the enduring values instilled by my mentors and colleagues during a lifetime in the medical profession and gives much hope for the future of this noble profession.

From the patient’s and family’s perspective, not only have they encountered wonderful healers but also extraordinarily special human beings.

(Dr. Paul Chiam

phone +6567353022)

18 comments:

  1. Kumar, Welcome to the blog!
    Reading this article makes me wish I could be your relative when I begin to fall apart!
    The intensive measures you had taken to secure the most able practitioners for this patient and their qualities you've looked for says much about your own ideals in the practice of medicine-hope to see more from you.

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    1. Thank you Rohini.You are more than a relative.A friend, a very dear friend.I sincerely hope it will be along long time before you fall apart.And even then I'm sure you will do so very graciously.
      Kumar

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    2. Thank you for your kind words Kumar-

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  2. Hi Kumar
    Its great to have you on the Blog. I recall our days in the Faculty with much nostalgia, a gentleman if ever there was one. It is lovely to hear about your work and also of Paul Chiam. Do keep in touch through our Blog.

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    1. Nihal,So wonderful to see you back.
      We missed you so!
      As for Kumar, I came to know him during my internship in Galle and have had the pleasure of meeting him with his wife Kanthi on a few subsequent occasions.
      Your description of him as "a gentleman if ever there was" is spot on.I was happy see him join us in the blog.

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    2. Thank you Nihal.Such a generous compliment.Hope I deserve it.I love reading your articles but have not stepped in here before on account of deficient typing skills. But getting there .Hopefully we will meet soon
      Kumar

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    3. Rohini
      As always so generous in your praise and thoughts. I too missed the blog and the small but vibrant community. Spring has sprung but with a twist on its tail with hurricane Kirstie sweeping across southern England. Over here There is never a dull moment weather wise.

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  3. I read this account being truly impressed and completely admiring of Dr Paul Chiam, someone, I would say, any medical student aspiring of a beautiful professional life can emulate. My best wishes to you and may you have a long career and inspire many young doctors to follow your example! And you Dr Kumar Gunawardena, a colleague and fellow Sri Lankan, many thanks to you for sharing this account and your generous comments. It can make anyone proud to be in the healing profession.
    From Zita

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    1. Thank You Zita.Both Dr Chiam and Chua were not only very accomplished professionals but also warm and compassionate human beings.Warm Regards
      Kumar

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  4. Kumar, welcome to the blog and thanks for this contribution. You plunged in! It was lovely to have met you a few times in Colombo a few weeks ago. I guess you are back in Queensland now. I am glad you and your relative were able to get the help of an accomplished and kind physician such as Dr. Chiam. The stuff they accomplish with minimal invasion nowadays is so amazing. Hope to see more contributions from you, Kumar. Srianee

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  5. Thank you Srianee.It was so lovely meeting you in Colombo recently.Hopefully our paths will cross again soon.Both Drs Chiam were not only excellent doctors but also wonderful human beings.It was such a pleasure to have encountered them.Warm Regards
    Kumar

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  6. Kumar, it was so nice to read your contribution on the blog and I look forward to many more. The qualities you looked for in a Doctor resonated very much with my own views. As Rohni Ana and others stated, it I am sure indicates your own qualities as a doctor. Your patients are very fortunate!

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    1. Thank you Mahen.I always abided by the dictum that you should treat all patients exactly same way that you would wish to be treated yourself.
      It was a pleasure especially to manage older patients who were so generous with their praise and affection.
      Kumar

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  7. Kumar, lovely to hear from you, and welcome to our Blog. I have been fortunate to meet you several times and enjoy your hospitality in your lovely home in Townsville, thanks to the fact that Justin worked there for ten years. Please do contact me when you next come to Sri Lanka.I hope Kanthi is free from those terrible attacks of Migraine that used to plague her.
    Enjoyed your article. Do keep contributing.
    Sriani Basnayake

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  8. Thank you Sriyani. It was lovely that we met you and Ralph in Townsville and subsequently enjoyed your warm hospitality in Colombo.Had a long chat with Nim and Justin today.We do miss them a lot.The added bonus of their being here was being able to catch up with you.Kanthi still talks about the migraine treatment you performed.Thankfully she is much better now.Hopefully we can meet again when we come to SriLanka.
    Kumar

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  9. Hi Kumar,
    Welcome to the fold. Glad to see your 'portrait' on this posting for yours. I read the contents with a great deal of interest particularly the long strides of progress that has been made in the field of Cardiac Surgery. As you may be aware that I had an AVR, Mitral valve repair and multiple by-pass -- quadruple, while my wife also had an AVR & triple by pass --- only 10 weeks apart of each other!!!!. So we were cut, chopped, battered and butchered in many ways than one and NOW, my wife's only 'complaint' is that she cannot & reluctant to "wear a bikini nor do 'POLE DANCING;"!!!---- She will 'kill me now'.
    I suppose that if any surgery on our 'tickers' are required in the future, will be less traumatic----- WE HOPE
    This was a very traumatic time for our family.
    Now we are 'OK'& plodding along as best as we could and marking time for the 'final call'!!
    Like us two, all my family are in Scotland (Aberdeen) while we are in Dundee. All my children are 'medically inclined' with a Nurse, two Doctors & a Dentist--- all working for the NHS that gave ME a job and now a valuable & living pension. Most importantly FREE HEALTH for which we are all very grateful & easy on the wallet!!

    Razaque

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    1. Thank you Razaque.Cardiology and cardiac surgery has come a very long way since the 60's when we qualified.
      So glad to hear that both of you are doing well after major surgery so close to each other.One thing I have learnt from personal experience is that family support plays an important part in the recovery process after a major illness.You are blessed to have a great family.
      I enjoy your articles very much particularly for the humour.Carry on writing.
      Kumar

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  10. Welcome to Novena Heart Centre, Know about HEART ATTACK - symptoms disease, treatment. Novena Heart is national heart center and available Cardiologist Singapore.

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