Tag Archives: Kinta Medical Centre

Diabetic Foot Care


By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Dr Suresh Sammanthamurthy

We continue our series on orthopedic ailments begun in IE  December 16 issue with our second interview with Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy Exec. Director (Operations) and Consultant Orthopedic Specialist at Kinta Medical Centre.

IE: Why is foot care important for Diabetics?

Dr. Suresh : Diabetes mellitus (DM) being so rampant in Malaysia, can cause silent damage to many organs and  especially  foot problems  which commonly develop in people with diabetes and can quickly become serious.

With damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly. Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and can lead to breakdown of the skin of the foot. Sores may develop.

IE: So can foot sores be life threatening?

Dr. Suresh: Damage to blood vessels and impairment of the immune system from diabetes make it difficult to heal these wounds. Bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles, and bones can then occur. These infections can develop into gangrene. Because of the poor blood flow, antibiotics cannot get to the site of the infection easily. Often, the only treatment for this is amputation of the foot or leg. If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, this process can be life-threatening.

IE: So what preventative measures can people with diabetes take?

Dr. Suresh: People with diabetes must be fully aware of how to prevent foot problems before they occur, to recognize problems early, and to seek the right treatment when problems do occur. Although treatment for diabetic foot problems has improved, prevention – including good control of blood sugar level – remains the best way to prevent diabetic complications.

IE: Is Home Care sufficient?

Dr. Suresh: People with diabetes should learn how to examine their own feet daily and how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of diabetic foot problems. They should also learn what is reasonable to manage routinely at home, how to recognize when to go to an orthopaedic doctor, and how to recognize when a problem has Diabetic implications. All this information can be obtained from their physician.

IE: Can you elaborate on what risk Factors increase the chances of a person with diabetes in developing foot problems and diabetic infections in legs and feet?

Orthodic insoles

Dr. Suresh: Footwear: Poorly fitting shoes are a common cause of diabetic foot problems. If the patient has red spots, sore spots, blisters, corns, calluses, or consistent pain associated with wearing shoes, new properly fitted footwear must be obtained as soon as possible. Orthopaedic foot wear and orthotics: If the patient has common foot abnormalities such as flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, prescription shoes or shoe inserts may be necessary.

Nerve damage: People with long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are at risk for having damage to the nerves in their feet. The medical term for this is peripheral neuropathy. Because of the nerve damage, the patient may be unable to feel their feet normally. Also, they may be unable to sense the position of their feet and toes while walking and balancing. With normal nerves, a person can usually sense if their shoes are rubbing on the feet or if one part of the foot is becoming strained while walking. A person with diabetes may not properly sense minor injuries (such as cuts, scrapes, blisters), signs of abnormal wear and tear (that turn into calluses and corns), and foot strain. Normally, people can feel if there is a stone in their shoe, then remove it immediately. A person who has diabetes may not be able to perceive a stone. Its constant rubbing can easily create a sore.

Poor circulation: Especially when poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to accelerated

hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. When blood flow to injured tissues is poor,

healing does not occur properly. Any trauma to the foot can increase the risk for a more serious problem to develop.

Infections: Athlete’s foot, a fungal infection of the skin or toenails, can lead to more serious bacterial infections and should be treated promptly.

Ingrown toenails: This should be handled right away by a foot specialist. Toenail fungus should also be treated.

Smoking: Smoking any form of tobacco causes damage to the small blood vessels in the feet and legs. This damage can disrupt the healing process and is a major risk factor for infections and amputations. The importance of smoking cessation cannot be overemphasized.

Dr. Suresh: Finally, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to consult your orthopaedic doctor on any changes you may notice on your legs and feet. Do not wait till a sore develops.

For more information on diabetic foot care, call:
Dr Suresh Sammanthamurthy’s clinic at Kinta Medical Centre: 05-2428315.
Email: sureshmurthy70@gmail.com    Website: www.kmc.com.my.

Kinta Medical to Maximise its Strengths and Location


An interview with Chairman Dato’ Dr. Foo Wan Kien

Dato' Dr. Foo Wan Kien

In a previous issue of Ipoh Echo 109, Kinta Medical Centre on Jalan Chung Thye Phin announced a major renovation programme that will see all its facilities and medical services upgraded over a two-year period.

Ipoh Echo finally tracked down Chairman of the Board, Dato’ Dr. Foo Wan Kien to learn more about the history of this ‘grand old lady’ of Ipoh hospitals and to understand the motivation for the upgrade and discover what future plans lie ahead.

IE: What is your vision for the Kinta Medical Centre (KMC)?

Dato’ Foo: I want KMC to be known as the best ‘Boutique’ hospital in the Northern region offering warm personalised service and offering the best medical care in certain specialities like orthopaedics, maternity, obstetrics and gynaecology, Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, Radiology and a 24-hour emergency centre. Our private rooms will be furnished like those in hotels, extremely roomy with an extra bed for loved ones who wish to accompany patients during their stay. All our wards too are being fully refurbished to hotel standard.

IE: How much money is being allocated to the entire refurbishment programme and what else is in the works?

Dato’ Foo: RM5 million has been allocated for the first two years and another RM5 million is being budgeted for the next five.

IE: How do you see KMC as a ‘Boutique’ hospital differing in the services currently being offered by the other hospitals in Ipoh?

Dato’ Foo: Firstly we will be charging reasonable rates in order to build volume which will in turn attract more quality doctors to use our facilities. Secondly, we are a not-for-profit organisation and whatever profits we make will be ploughed back into upgrading and equipment for the benefit of patients. Thirdly we have plans to build a ‘Medical Mall’ on our grounds which, as everyone knows, is ample. With its central location on Jalan Chung Thye Phin and ample parking space, we’re confident that we can attract many independent GPs and specialists to rent clinic space at the mall. This will certainly save many physicians the headache of storing their own pharmaceuticals, and with radiology and a diagnostic centre on premises, will be a boon to their patients who don’t need to travel elsewhere for tests. We’re also exploring setting up either a cosmetic surgery or TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) centre in the mall.

IE: What happened to the charity hospital started by your late father Mr. Foo Yet Kai?

Dato’ Foo: We have been a charity hospital but due to the high cost of medicines and equipment, it is difficult for one family to fund the hospital. We need continuous funding to upgrade the hospital and equipment in line with our vision to provide the best service and to give more confidence to our patients.

IE: So does this mean that KMC will no longer be offering charity medical care?

Dato’ Foo: No, not at all. In fact we are in the midst of making a decision on whether to have a charity dialysis centre on the premises or a charity eye centre. We are still doing our research on which speciality will offer the most good to the largest number of people and what is needed most. This funding will come from the Foo Yet Kai Foundation which is separate from that of KMC. We plan to invite members of NGOs to sit on a committee to vet patients deserving of free medical care. This will be easily facilitated through my network of Lion’s clubs of which I am the Past District Governor of Lions Club International District 308-B2.

IE: What else is the Foo Yet Kai Foundation doing to carry on the family tradition of philanthropy established by your late father?

Dato’ Foo: We have contributed to the building of a new Shen Jai Secondary School together with the Perak Hakka Association in the Seri Botani area. The old school which was started by my late father was named after my grandfather Foo Shen Jai. Further afield in China, we have donated a hospital to my late Father’s village in Xiayang of Yongding in Fujian province.

IE: Well it looks like you have a very full plate in the next few years. As someone who at the tender age of 24 acquired the Alpha Romeo motor franchise and started City Motors, you have since been very successful and involved with cars all your adult life. What else is in store for you or shall we say, up your sleeves?

Dato’ Foo: Well it hasn’t only been cars, I have also done a fair amount of property development, palm oil plantations, and aquaculture. So my activities have been quite diverse. For the future, we’ll see. I plan to do more property development and expand the agriculture sector. I also intend to build a high-rise, probably a hotel, in Ipoh for the purpose of branding of our company’s continuous growth for the next generation to take over.

Ipoh Echo wishes Dato’ Foo much success in all his endeavours in the future.

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Caring for Your Knees


An interview with Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy

Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy is one doctor who loves having a full plate. Not only is he a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Kinta Medical Centre but he also wears another hat as Executive Director (Operations) who is spearheading the re-engineering exercise for the hospital. His first love though is for orthopaedics and here he talks to Ipoh Echo on his specialty.

“Aside from accident and trauma, the most common affliction I see in my patients is Osteoarthritis which is a condition caused by a combination of several factors” he said.  While it is often called ‘wear-and-tear’ arthritis, this condition is due to more than just wearing away of the joint surface. It usually causes pain and limited motion, and is most common in the knee joint and hip joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand is a systemic, autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own soft-tissues and joints thereby destroying the joint cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands and feet, but can also cause hip, knee, elbow, shoulder, and neck problems.

Who develops knee arthritis?
Knee arthritis typically affects patients over 50 years of age. It is more common in patients who are overweight, and weight loss tends to reduce the symptoms associated with knee arthritis. There is also a genetic predisposition to this condition, meaning knee arthritis tends to run in families. Other factors that can contribute to developing knee arthritis include trauma to the knee, meniscus tears or ligament damage, and fractures to the bone around the joint.

What are the symptoms of knee arthritis?
The most common symptoms of knee arthritis are: Pain with activities; Limited range of motion; Stiffness of the knee; swelling and tenderness along the joint; a feeling the joint may “give out”;and deformity of the joint (knock-knees or bow-legs).

What is the treatment for knee arthritis?
Treatment of knee arthritis should begin with the most basic steps and progress to the more involved, possibly including surgery. The range of options are:

Weight Loss
Probably one of the most important, yet least commonly performed treatments. The less weight the joint has to carry, the less painful activities will be.

Activity Modification
Limiting certain activities may be necessary, and learning new exercise methods may be helpful.

Walking Aids
Use of a cane or a single crutch in the hand opposite the affected knee will help decrease the demand placed on the arthritic joint.

Physical Therapy
Strengthening of the muscles around the knee joint may help decrease the burden on the knee. Preventing atrophy of the muscles is an important part of maintaining functional use of the knee.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDs) are prescription and nonprescription drugs that help treat pain and inflammation.

Viscosupplementation is a procedure that involves the injection of gel-like substances (hyaluronates) into a joint to supplement the viscous properties of synovial fluid.

Joint Supplements (Glucosamine)
Glucosamine appears to be safe and provides symptomatic relief.

Knee Arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy helps by reducing the synovial tissue caused by inflammation and thereby provides symptomatic relief of pain, while delaying the eventual surgery.

Knee Osteotomy
Helps in offloading the weight bearing area of the knee joint by correcting the angular deformity but requires strict criteria for selection of patients.

Total Knee Replacement Surgery
 In this procedure, the cartilage is removed and a metal & plastic implant is placed in the knee.

Stem Cell Therapy
Still undergoing trial and research but may be the thing of the future, currently still  in its infancy but fairly successful results have been reported. Current drawback is the high cost involved and repeated therapy with prolonged limited weight bearing.

Knee replacement surgery is a procedure that is performed when the knee joint has reached a point when painful symptoms can no longer be controlled with non-operative treatments. In a knee replacement procedure, your surgeon removes the damaged joint surface and replaces it with a metal and plastic implant that functions similar to a normal knee. These implants will wear out over time and may require revision surgery depending on the age at which the primary surgery was performed. Knee replacements are done infrequently in younger patients because of the concern of the implant wearing out too quickly. The average cost of an uncomplicated knee replacement is about RM15,000. The patient must realise that the goal of a knee replacement is to provide the patient mobility, a reasonable life style and activities of daily living without pain. If this can be achieved then the surgery is a complete success.

For more information on caring for your knees, call  Dr Suresh Sammanthamurthy’s Clinic at Kinta Medical Centre: 05-2428315.
Email: sureshmurthy70@gmail.com.


A Grand Old Lady Set to Step Into 21st Century

By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Kinta Medical Centre is all set on an RM5 million extensive refurbishing programme that will see all its facilities and medical services upgraded over a two year period.

Beginning in January 2010 when a new management team was put in place, this 48-bed hospital has been quietly renovating its physical premises.

Along with this cosmetic upgrade, orders for new equipment have been placed and new facilities are in the pipeline to bring back the glory that once earned this hospital the accolade of being the premier hospital in Ipoh offering affordable medical care.

Datuk Dr. Satiadass (left) and Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy(right)

Re-Engineering Exercise
Spearheading this re-engineering exercise are: Executive Director (Operations) Dr. Suresh Sammanthamurthy who is also a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Kinta Medical, and COO Datuk Dr. Satiadass. With a vision to be a customer driven and patient-centred organization, they have been tasked with their team members to turn around, upgrade, improve performance, efficiency and profitability of the organization.

The hospital came into being when the late Mr. Foo Yet Kai, a renowned Ipoh philanthropist, bought the Chung Thye Phin Villa from the family of a late Kapitan and donated the property for setting up of a private hospital known as Our Lady’s Hospital run by the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood. The hospital was for the benefit of people of all races and creeds who require hospital treatment at affordable rates. It has been open to the public since September 1963.

Wide Range of Services
Kinta Medical Centre offers a wide range of outpatient and inpatient services and facilities supported by dedicated medical consultants, nurses and other support staff. Resident specialities at Kinta Medical include Orthopaedics, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, Radiology, Anaesthetic services, and a 24-hour emergency centre. Currently more than 40 visiting doctors and specialists utilise the hospital and they even boast Ipoh’s only Podiatrist (think feet).

Boutique Hospital
Although no effort is being spared to upgrade all existing facilities to current modern standards, the emphasis for Kinta Medical is for it to be known as a ‘Boutique’ hospital with all the attendant personalized services that a boutique operation implies. Plans are for retaining the current number of rooms and beds and because it is a heritage building, all its rooms are generously sized and special ‘boutique’ single rooms are being designed. Operating at a ratio of 1 staff to 3 beds where the national average is 1 to 4, Kinta’s approach is focused on warmth and empathy being the key operating philosophy.

Although operationally it has moved away from being a charitable hospital, plans are underway for  a separate entity under the Foo Yet Kai Foundation to continue its former charitable activities with the support  of Kinta Medical Centre where Chairman of the Board, Dato’ Dr. Foo Wan Kien can carry on the family tradition of philanthropy begun by his father.  “With this refurbishment and upgrading, we shall soon see Kinta Medical regain its former glory and taking its rightful place as a top medical service provider while at the same time building its reputation as the top ‘Boutique’ hospital in the northern region,” he said.

Mini garden – before (left) and after

New Facilities
A new Day Care Ward is nearing completion for elective day surgeries and a new operating theatre painted in bright green has been completed as is a new Maternity Ward.  New equipment such as a 32-slice CT scan, X-ray machines and Mammogram equipment have been ordered and await delivery.

When asked to define the philosophy of Kinta Medical, Executive Director (Operations) Dr. Suresh had this to say, “This hospital was founded with charity in mind. In keeping with the late Mr Foo Yet Kai’s philanthropic motives, we aim to keep our prices affordable while providing quality medical care for all patients.”

COO Datuk Dr. Satiadass added, “As a ‘Boutique Hospital’, we want to be known to be charming, warm, and most of all caring. We are after all in a Heritage Building and we intend to retain all the external character of a grand mansion while creating a modern and efficient hospital operation inside.”

This grand old lady looks set to step into the 21st century.