It’s been many years since I have visited a pediatrician but now as an expectant grandmother, I was looking forward to meeting up with Dr Alex Khoo Peng Chuan who had just joined Fatimah Hospital as Resident Consultant Pediatrician and Consultant Pediatric Neurologist.
Walking into his newly-renovated Primecare Pediatric Clinic, a child friendly (low sofas) and colourful environment complete with a separate play area where children may read or play with non toxic toys, I was impressed with the care that Dr Alex has taken to soothe anxious parents and young patients while they wait.
A newbie to Fatimah but certainly no newbie to Pediatrics, Dr Alex came from Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh where he initially qualified as a Pediatrician after housemanship in Teluk Intan and time as Pediatric M.O., in Alor Star.
It was during his two-year stint as Pediatrician in Taiping that he discovered Pediatric Neurology when a patient suggested he take up this sub-specialty so she needn’t have to go to Kuala Lumpur or Penang for medical care for her child.
This was the impetus which saw him spending the next two and a half years training in Pediatric neurology both in Kuala Lumpur followed by a further year in Sydney Australia. Today he is the only Pediatric Neurologist in Perak and one out of nine in all of Malaysia, with a fellowship in Pediatric Neurology from Australia and awarded the MRCPH (UK).
Pediatric neurologists combine the special expertise in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, muscles, nerves) with an understanding of medical disorders in childhood and the special needs of the child and his or her family and environment. Seizure disorders, including seizures in newborns, febrile convulsions, and epilepsy, medical aspects of head injuries and brain tumors, weakness, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and neuromuscular disorders all fall within Dr Alex’s scope of expertise.
His enthusiasm for his work is palpable as is his love for his hometown of Ipoh. An Ipohite born and bred and a proud Michaelian who has received his Silver Spoon (for 13 years spent at St Michael’s Institution from Kindergarten to Form 6) Dr Alex likens himself to an explorer; in his case, not of uncharted waters of the world but the mysteries of the tangled web of neurons, nerves, neurotransmitters, signalling stations in the brain which controls growth and development of the child.
Pediatricians in general don’t have the time to delve into the aetiology of disease as they treat acute childhood issues and this is where the expertise of Dr Alex comes in.
“We’re the most optimistic of doctors. Even in almost untreatable conditions like epilepsy or cerebral palsy, we strive to find ways to improve the quality of life for the child and in so doing, ameliorate the emotional pain for the parents. Parents usually come to us feeling shame and guilt for the condition of their child and I do my best to allay their fears by investigating, explaining and setting achievable targets for improvements for their child”, he said with enthusiasm.
“Fatimah hospital has the latest equipment for electrophysiology and we are three resident pediatricians working in different sub specialties and are therefore able to handle the whole spectrum of children’s issues.” he added confidently.
“We aim to be 5-star doctors. 5-star not in the sense of deluxe and expensive as in hotels but 5-star in our approach to managing patients. I believe in a 5-pronged approach as Health Care Provider; Clinical Manager; Decision Maker; Effective Communicator and finally in providing Community Leadership. Our barometer for patient satisfaction is for them to feel better after they leave, both for the child and the parents,” he emphasised.
When asked for his vision for the future of Pediatrics in Fatimah, he said, “I envision a child-centred hospital and wish to work towards the establishment of a Cognitive Science Centre to take care of children from birth to young adulthood and from cradle to cradle.”
For more information: Prime Care Paediatric Clinic, Hospital Fatimah, Suite 47, Ground Floor, 1 Lebuh Chew Peng Loon, Tel: 05 545 5777 ext. 511/512 Direct line: 05 548 1192; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.