A tale of a City State and extraordinary medical services available there
A Lankan doctor recounts a happy professional experienceMarch 26, 2016, 5:49 pm
Dr. Paul Chiam
Drs. Chua and Kumar Gunawardane
by Dr Kumar Gunawardane
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