By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
I was bewitched, bedazzled and brimming with new health information after KMC Medical Centre tasked me with interviewing 4 doctors who have recently joined the hospital as Resident Consultants.
Dato’ Dr Sothy Kandiah, Consultant Physician
I love talking to Physicians because they are general specialists in a variety of illnesses and not focused on any particular part of the body. When I have a medical complaint, the first person I see is my physician who keeps track of all my ailments.
That’s how Dato’ Dr Sothy describes herself – a first-line medical manager or a primary physician who diagnoses and treats patients and if need be, sends to sub specialist as required.
This may sound simple on paper but with 25 years experience in Ipoh GH, retiring as Head of Department, one of the first batches to receive an M. Med. in Internal Medicine from USM, Dato’ Dr Sothy says that the job can be harrowing, especially when dealing with infectious disease.
“I attended the first patient with Nipah virus here in GH, Ipoh. And as the infected numbers grew, we had all hands on board and the situation was quite tense. Thankfully, that was over but we still have Dengue. Dengue requires 24-hour care and recently, I had a patient here at KMC and I was looking in on him every two hours. Thank God he recovered.”
“As a generalist, I manage events from head to toe. I spend a lot of my time counselling patients, especially diabetic ones on the management of their disease. Patients need to collaborate with their doctor. Eighty per cent of the effort is with the patient and the doctor provides the remaining 20%. A lot of patients think that because they have been given medication or provided with insulin, their problems are taken care of. That is not at all true,” she emphasised.
“As for diet, diabetic patients must watch their sugar intake. Everything you eat turns into sugar in the body. Avoid sweet fruits particularly durians. Eat apples and guava which is full of vitamin C. Cut down on your rice intake and cut out MSG which causes hypertension,” are Dato’ Dr Sothy’s advice.
Mr N. Jeevaraj, Consultant General Surgeon
Mr Jeeva is a qualified medical doctor. He is addressed as Mr because, since the mid-19th century, UK surgeons have also had to obtain a university degree in medicine. As a result, today’s surgeons start out as “Mr” or “Miss” in medical school, become “Dr” on qualifying and revert to “Mr” or “Miss” when they pass surgical exams for the Royal College. This only applies to surgeons.
An affable man, Mr Jeeva also refers to himself as a generalist like his wife Dato’ Dr Sothy. Except in his case, he uses the “knife”. A veteran of PCSH (Perak Community Specialist Hospital) followed by six years with BP Lab, Mr Jeeva is also affiliated with Hospital Fatimah and KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, although he is now the Resident General Surgeon at KMC.
“I do all types of surgery like breast whether total mastectomy (removal of the whole breast) or breast conservation surgery (where only the lump and some surrounding tissue is removed), to colon surgery.” Of course, if you have an ingrown toenail, he’ll do that too.
Mr Jeeva admits to seeing more colorectal issues and recommends regular colonoscopies, especially past the age of 50 with repeats every five years if there are no adverse signs, more often if there are polyps and probably every year if any parent, sibling or a close relative has a history of colorectal cancer. “If there is any change in bowel movements, constant bloating and in particular, any rectal bleeding, go straight to a doctor and get examined. Colorectal cancer can be cured at the early stages,” he stressed.
As for breast cancer which is very common these days, he advocates giving yourself a breast examination every month and going to a doctor at the first sign of a lump. Like colon cancer, breast cancers are easily treated at the early stages and full remissions are possible. “A mastectomy assures no local or regional occurrence as the whole breast and underlying lymph nodes are removed but breast conservation surgery requires a very strict follow-up. I make patients aware of that when they make a choice,” he added.
Finally, Mr Jeeva advises all patients to choose a doctor whom they like and can talk to. “Do not be dictated by your doctor,” he emphasised. “Do get a second opinion if you’re uncertain and especially if the diagnosis is a serious one,’’ he added.
Dr Ho Shu Fen, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic, Lacrimal and Orbit Surgeon
Dr Ho Shu Fen looks almost like a teenager and admits to her looks sometimes working against her as patients doubt her experience. In fact, Dr Ho is in her forties and is more than able to cope with any issue concerning the eye, having an impressive background both educationally and in practice.
After getting a full scholarship to study medicine at the University of Melbourne, she decided to specialise in Ophthalmology. She worked under the tutelage of many famous eye surgeons in the UK. After getting FRCOphth (London) she decided to sub specialise in Oculoplastics. She had her fellowship in the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Centre in London.
I thought I “knew it all” about eye problems having had a few myself but some of the delicate and complicated procedures she performs truly “opened my eyes”! Such as lifting the eyelashes in patients whose eyelashes slant downwards and obstruct their vision (especially in Chinese eyes) or correcting Ptosis (drooping eyelids) that do the same, even in the very old.
She can perform a wide range of oculoplastic surgeries including eyelid reconstruction for tumour or post-trauma; facial nerve palsy and orbital decompression and eyelid lowering for thyroid eye disease. Aesthetic surgery services such as double eyelid surgery, eyebags removal, autologous fat transfer in addition to less invasive procedures such as botox and filler are also provided. She is also a competent cataract surgeon who can perform complex cataract surgery with a wide variety of premium intraocular lens implant and squint surgery.
She adopts holistic management to her patients as she believes ‘eyes are the window to the soul’ and eye health is a reflection of general health. No eye problem is too big or too small for this very empathetic doctor. She currently practises in Ipoh, as well as Kuala Lumpur.
Dr A. Amalourde Raj, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon
Having received his under and postgraduate training at University Malaya, Ipoh-boy (St Michael’s), Dr Amalourde is a Certified Medical Impairment Assessor (CMIA) with emphasis on Spine, Sports, Foot and Ankle Surgery. He worked in government hospitals but in 2007, set up his own private clinic in Johor Bahru, returning to Perak in 2014 where he had a clinic in Taiping.
Settling now in KMC, Dr Amalourde has great plans for an extended clinic where he will manage all sports injuries and rehabilitation, perform all orthopaedic surgeries as called for and also a wound-care centre.
“Why wound care? That doesn’t sound like orthopaedics?” I asked. His reply was surprising, “Most people who have wounds or skin lesions that may appear shallow and dismiss them. Oftentimes, because many have lost sensation in their extremities, the small wound may go deeper and go right to the bone. And that is what we want to prevent, particularly the possibility of amputation. This applies to many diabetic patients.”
As for sports injuries and rehabilitation, this extremely enthusiastic surgeon who is an avid sportsman himself has his own ultrasound machine in his clinic where he can immediately assess the degree of injury and take remedial action right there and then. This conscientious doctor will even work with patients to demonstrate specific exercises to help overcome the injury. And he plans to keep his consultation fees affordable in line with KMC’s mission.
As for knee replacement surgery, Dr Amalourde prefers to use conservative methods before recommending the “knife”. He may use PRP or Platelet-rich plasma, also known as autologous conditioned plasma, which is a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein derived from the patients’ own blood, centrifuged to remove red blood cells; hyaluronic injections or the use of a hinge brace which has metal on both sides to support the knee (see pic).
KMC Medical Centre
20A Jalan Chung Thye Phin,
30250 Ipoh, Perak.
Dato’ Dr Sothy: 246
Mr Jeeva: 261
Dr Ho: 256
Dr Raj: 227