Category Archives: HEALTH

What Is a Newborn Baby’s Job? (Part 2)

Dr Shan Narayanan – Consultant General Paediatrician
Dr Shan Narayanan – Consultant General Paediatrician

Child Health

By Dr Shan Narayanan

“Life is really simple but we insist on making it so complicated.”Confucius

Babies lead a simple life. They eat, sleep and fill the nappy. Their life is thus pretty straight forward. However, their parents get very worried over these matters. The worry is out of their love for their baby.

In the last article, we looked at feeding. The best feed for the baby is breast milk. Some mothers, for various reasons (health, work or out of own choice) are not able to breastfeed partly or completely. They opt for formula feeding. In such situations, mums need to learn how to prepare the milk and sterilize the bottles to ensure babies do not develop infections.

Working mothers, who are breastfeeding, can express their milk and store it. Breast milk must always be stored in a sterilized container. If you use a pump, always sterilize it before and after use. In general, the milk can be stored as follows:

  • in the fridge for up to five days at 4°C or lower
  • for two weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge
  • for up to six months in a freezer.

Most newborns sleep for 16 to 20 hours a day. The sleep is intermittent with the need to feed outweighing the need to sleep and hence they sleep for 2 to 4 hours at a time. Breastfed babies get hungry more frequently than bottle-fed babies and may need to be nursed every 2 hours.

Their biological clock at this stage is not yet established. Many newborns tend to sleep all day and are awake at night. This is extremely tiring for the parents/caregivers. Thus it is not surprising if parents/caregivers lose their cool under these circumstances. Support and turns taken in caring for the newborn is important but not always available.

Every baby is different as to when he or she will sleep through the night. In general, by 2 months of age, most babies are sleeping 6 to 8 hours through the night.

Breastfed babies’ stool
Breastfed babies’ stool

It is recommended that babies are placed on their backs to sleep and not on their stomachs.  Babies who sleep on their stomachs tend to have a greater tendency towards blocking their breathing. There is a chance they may suffocate on softer bedding, as well. Once the babies are fed, they sleep, then they poop and pee to complete their job!

The urine is usually pale yellow in colour.  In the first week, as the feeding is establishing, the baby passes urine only 3 to 4 times per day. After this, both breast and bottle fed babies should pass 6 to 8 times in a day.

The initial stool passed by a newborn is called meconium. It has a thick, black and sticky consistency. The colour changes as the baby is fed. Breastfed babies have yellowish watery stools with some “seeds”. Formula fed babies have firmer stools which may be yellow to green in colour.

Stooling patterns vary from baby to baby. It is normal for babies to grunt and grimace when they stool. Breastfed babies pass more frequent stools; it may be 6 to 8 times per day. They tend to stool as they feed. Formula fed babies may stool 1 to 3 times per day.

Traditionally, fathers like well-fed and clean babies leaving the hard work to mothers. This practice is changing with younger dads getting involved in the hands-on care of the newborn – a credit to gender equality!

For more information, call Dr Shan’s clinic at Hospital Fatimah 05-546 1345 or email

Thyroid Eye Disease

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

By Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about Thyroid Eye Disease.

The Thyroid gland is an organ that is found in the front of the neck. Thyroid hormones are released by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream as “chemical messengers” which are essential for managing the metabolism in our bodies. As with most organs in the body, when the thyroid gland functions well, it goes unnoticed but when it starts producing too much or too little hormones, it causes a lot of problems to the body. The eyes get affected when the gland becomes hyperactive. When this happens, it is termed as either Thyroid Eye Disease or Thyroid Orbitopathy, Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, Ophthalmic Graves’ Disease or Thyroid Ophthalmopathy.

Who Gets Thyroid Eye Disease?

Thankfully this is not a very common condition. In every 100,000 people, approximately 15 women and 3 men are affected by Thyroid Eye Disease. Most of the time it affects the middle age group. There is a genetic link, making those in some families to be more predisposed to suffering from Thyroid Eye Disease.

What Happens To The Eyes In Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid eye disease - S.S. GillIn Thyroid Eye Disease, the eye muscles and fat that surrounds the eyeball gets inflamed (swollen). The two eyeballs may or may not be affected equally, giving rise to the following symptoms in the eyes:

  • Eyes protrude or bulge out of its sockets – an appearance that the person is staring! Thyroid Eye disease is the most common cause of protruding eyes (proptosis).
  • More of the cornea (transparent part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (white of the eye) get exposed because the eyelids may not fully close over the eyes well enough (eyelid retraction).
  • The eyes may ache, with intermittent sharp pain when the cornea dries out especially   when the person is concentrating on something for long as in reading.
  • Some people get diplopia (double vision) because the eye muscles are unable to move properly due to the swelling of the eye muscles.
  • Blurring vision in some patients.

This may happen along with other features such as irritability or nervousness (mood disturbances), preference for cold environments, increased sweating, insomnia (sleeping difficulty), palpitations (a rapid heartbeat), tremor of the hands, weight loss, frequent bowel movements, unexplained fatigue or weakness of muscle, difficulty in conception and irregular menstruation.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If a doctor suspects that you may be having Thyroid Eye Disease, the following tests are usually done:

  • Thyroid Function Test (blood test): This will measure hormone levels in your body which includes TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), T4 which is the principal thyroid hormone and another thyroid hormone T3, plus Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin Test (TSI). The other blood test that may be done is the RAIU test             (Radioactive Iodine Uptake) – which helps to evaluate the Thyroid gland and to find out the cause of increased production of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).
  • Thyroid Scan – to determine the shape and size of the thyroid gland and to pick up any thyroid nodules that may be benign or cancerous.
  • MRI Scan of the Orbits – to determine the amount of proptosis (bulging forward of eyes) and the amount of inflammation of the eye muscles within the eyeball sockets.

More on Thyroid Eye Disease prognosis and treatment in the next issue.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email

Colour Blindness

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about Colour Blindness or Colour Deficiency.

So many of us take the ability of seeing colours for granted. Every year, 17 year olds undergo colour vision assessment as part of their drivers’ licence test. A fraction of these teenagers are shocked when they find out that they have colour blindness (better called Colour Deficiency). What does colour deficiency mean?


The eye is a very sophisticated camera! Inside the eyeball, right at the back of the eye is the layer of the retina where all the nerve cells are. These nerve cells comprise of special cells called Rods and Cones. The Rods have no colour vision function except that they are very sensitive to light and help in our night vision.

On the other hand, the cells responsible for picking up the colour that we see are the Cone Cells. Among these Cone Cells, there are varying degrees of pigment present. Depending on the pigment present in the Cone Cells, they help react to different colours. Some of them respond and pick-up the longer wavelength light like the red colours and some of them respond to the shorter wavelength light like that of blue colours.


Although there are many conditions that can result in Colour Blindness, for most people who suffer from this, it is mainly of genetic cause. This just means that they are born with Colour Blindness. When we say it is genetic, it means that the Colour Blindness has been passed down in the genes from the parents.

In our genes, there are the X and Y chromosomes. The gene which is responsible for Colour Blindness is carried on the X chromosome and so more men suffer from Colour Blindness than women. Women are usually only the carriers but do not normally have Colour Blindness. Worldwide it is estimated that there are some 250 million people who are colour blind to a lesser or greater extent.


Colour Deficiency may be mild, moderate or severe. Also, depending on the amount of pigment deficient, it may be divided into:

Red-Green Colour Deficiency – Is the most common type where the reds and greens appear similar (adjacent picture is a simulation of how it would appear)

Blue-Yellow Colour Deficiency – These are less common. Most of the time they also have some concomitant red-green deficiency too.


There has been on-going research in the area of gene therapy for the treatment of Colour Deficiency. Animal studies for this have shown promise where the introduction of a gene (opsin gene) has given the animals colour vision that they did not have before treatment.

In the USA, special kind of spectacles have been developed which are purplish in colour that are able to help those with the most common form of Colour Blindness. These glasses filter out certain wavelengths of light that disturb the perception of colour vision. They are not without trouble though because some things disappear from vision when these glasses are worn in some instances. If you are unsure of whether you have colour deficiency or not, do not hesitate to get your eyes checked.


For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email

Hospital Fatimah’s Nicotine-Free Campaign in Schools


Dr Chan Chee Hoe“You will never have to quit if you have never started”, said Dr Chan Chee Hoe,  Chairman of  Hospital Fatimah’s Clients’ Support and Counselling Centre (CSCC), in his recent talk at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Perak Campus.

The CSCC has held a few Nicotine-Free campaigns this year to reduce the use of nicotine, especially among school-going students in view of the alarming increase in smoking-related diseases (for example, heart disease, cancers and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) lately. Statistics show 23 per cent of Malaysians smoke, with the highest rates among men (1 in 2 males smoke), teens (new smokers) and women (highest rate of increase).

Members of the CSCC, comprising nurses of the Hospital and Dr Chan Chee Hoe, Consultant Physician, have held this campaign at SMJK Ave Maria Convent, St Michael’s Institution, UTAR Kampar and in Hospital Fatimah itself.

The objectives of this campaign are to develop a persuasive argument against smoking, examine the effects of smoking and impart information on the health effects of smoking to school-going students.

Nicotine-free campaign

This 1½-hour programme comprises various interactive activities for the students such as a debate, a straw game, a role-play by the nurses of the CSCC on the effects of smoking followed by an extensive presentation on ‘How to Quit Smoking’ by Dr Chan.

The responses from participants of these campaigns have been so encouraging that the school teachers have requested for repeated programmes in their respective schools. Schools or any organisations dealing with adolescents that are interested in organising this programme may contact the Hospital at 05 5455 777 Ext. 276.

The CSCC in Hospital Fatimah provides personalized clinical counselling services to patients starting from the ward and extending to outpatients for their follow-up care. The CSCC aspires to educate patients on their illnesses and to answer any doubts or problems pertaining to their illnesses and to provide physical and psychological support to patients during the process of rehabilitation, reference material/pamphlets, and preventive and aftercare services to meet our community needs.

Some of the services provided at CSCC are counselling for people with Diabetes Mellitus, Stroke, AIDS/HIV, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and those who want to quit smoking; coordination of palliative care, cardiac rehabilitation and weight management. All counsellors at CSCC are trained in conducting counselling services and they are available to counsel in the language that patients prefer.

The Kindest Cut of All



By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Given the option to have surgery with a choice of surgeons, I would certainly choose Dr Chan Ching Phing. As consultant General Surgeon in Fatimah Hospital, Dr Chan has only recently left General Hospital Bainun to take up full time consultancy a year ago.

Dr Chan Ching Phing-2

The reason for my choice of Dr Chan as preferred surgeon is due to her one and a half year’s training in the Plastic Surgery department at the General Hospital in Ipoh. Not that I have any actual experience of her operating on me but having had a fair number of surgeries in my past, I have enough scars on my body to qualify for the “Most Scarred For Life” title if there was ever to be a competition. And these are scars not embellished by the specialist touch of a plastic surgeon’s handiwork. Which are always much finer, the stitching, more delicate.

Understandably, the raison d’etre for going to a General Surgeon is not for cosmetic reasons but often for life-saving ones, but it certainly helps to put oneself in the hands of a surgeon who does delicate suturing work as well.

Dr Chan never dreamt of becoming a surgeon. Finishing her medical degree and posted as a houseman at the General Hospital in Ipoh in 1992, she found herself in the Plastic Surgery department and it was here that she developed her passion for surgery.

Dr Chan Ching Phing-1Applying for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) a professional qualification for practising as a surgeon in the British Isles in 1995 saw her passing her first examination with ease and subsequently breezing through Part 1 in 1996 and Part 2 in 1998 soon saw her accredited as a full fledged Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Further training in Laparoscopic surgery soon established Dr Chan as one of the few laparoscopic surgeons in Ipoh, performing minimally invasive surgery, bandaid surgery, or keyhole surgery, which is a modern surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions as opposed to the larger incisions needed in laparotomy. This technique is ideal for gall bladder removal (known as cholecystectomy), or appendix surgery.

Other surgeries commonly performed by Dr Chan include Hernioplasty which require repair of the abdominal wall or repair of inguinal hernias more commonly found in men, which occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in the groin muscle. This causes a bulge in the groin or scrotum that may hurt or burn.

But her true sub-specialty as a General Surgeon is in breast surgery where most of her current workload is focused. “Actually, the correct person to manage breast cancer is the General Surgeon, together with the Oncologist of course. While the detection of breast lumps may come from any physician or specialist especially the gynaecologist, the decisions on removal and subsequent management rest with the surgeon in consultation with the oncologist.”

“Breast Cancer can be localised or systemic and the treatment options will vary depending on the diagnosis. I prefer a conservative approach, always recommending a lumpectomy (removal of the breast lumps or lumps) first and only as a last resort, a total mastectomy” she added.

When asked what she thought of Superstar Angelina Jolie’s double breast mastectomy as a breast cancer preventive due to finding a specific gene indicative of a tendency towards breast cancer, Dr Chan said,  “ I think she is very brave, not just to be able to live long enough to see her children grow up but to tell the whole world about herself losing her breasts (one of GOD’s greatest creation for a woman). By doing so she can actually help many women to face their disease and continue to live normally. Bravo Angelina! I give her a big salute.”

One of the principal precepts of medical ethics which is taught in all medical schools is that of “Primum non nocere” or “First Do no Harm”. Given that a General Surgeon’s primary task is to perform invasive surgery, Dr Chan finds herself walking a constant tightrope between recommending invasive surgery or leaving a medical condition well alone and prescribing palliative treatment instead. Judging by the number of happy patients treated by Dr Chan, is testimony to the fact that she walks that tightrope very well.

To contact Dr Chan Ching Phing:
CP Chan Surgery, Hospital Fatimah, Suite 11 (Grd flr)
Tel: 05 548 9098

Hepatitis C


Dr Saravana.KDigestive Health

By Dr Saravana.K
Consultant Physician,
Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist

Hepatitis simply means “inflammation of the liver” (the suffix “itis” means inflammation and “hepa” means liver). Hepatitis C (HCV) is a specific type of hepatitis that is caused by a virus. There are many other hepatitis viruses such hepatitis A, B, D, E, etc. The only thing they have in common is that they all affect the liver. Most people infected with the HCV have no symptoms until liver damage shows up decades later, during routine medical tests.

It is spread when you come in contact with blood contaminated by the virus. Three per cent of the world’s population is chronically infected with HCV. In Malaysia the prevalence of HCV is about 1.5 per cent.


  • Hepatitis C-1HCV infection usually produces no signs or symptoms during its earliest stages
  • Fatigue, fever, muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Leg swelling, abdominal distension
  • Passing foul smelling blackish stool
  • Vomiting blood

How do I become infected with HCV?

  • Hepatitis C-2Health care and emergency workers who have been exposed to infected blood or accidental needle stick injury
  • Have ever injected illicit drugs
  • People with HIV infection
  • Received a piercing or tattoo in an unclean environment using non sterile equipment
  • Received a blood transfusion, clotting factor concentrates or organ transplant before 1994
  • Received hemodialysis treatments for a long period of time
  • Was born to a mother with a HCV infection
  • Sexual partners of anyone diagnosed with HCV infection
  • People with hemophilia.

People with the above risks may want to talk to their doctors about screening for hepatitis C infection, to detect it early and prevent complications. HCV infection at the initial stages produces no symptoms and if detected early treatment could be administered to prevent complications such as:

  • Scarring of the liver tissue (cirrhosis). After 20 to 30 years of HCV, cirrhosis may occur. Scarring in your liver makes it difficult for your liver to function.
  • Liver failure. A liver that is severely damaged by HCV may be unable to function adequately.
  • Liver cancer.

HCV can be diagnosed by doing simple blood tests that include:

  • HCV antibody test: To determine whether you have the HCV virus.
  • Measure the quantity of the HCV virus in your blood (viral load) and the genetic makeup of the virus (genotyping), to determine your treatment options.


Antiviral medications

HCV infection is treated with antiviral medications intended to clear the virus from your body. Your doctor will decide whether you are eligible for treatment and may recommend a combination of medications taken over several weeks. Throughout treatment your doctor will monitor your response to medications and for side effects.

Liver transplant

If your liver has been severely damaged; a liver transplant may be an option.


Protect yourself from HCV infection by taking the following precautions: stop using illicit drugs, be cautious about body piercing and tattooing and practice safer sex.

Tips To Maintain a Healthy Liver

  • Vaccinations against the hepatitis A and B viruses. These viruses can also cause liver damage and complicate treatment of hepatitis C.
  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid medications that may cause liver damage.

For more information call Saravana.K Gastroenterologist and Liver Specialist Clinic at Hospital Fatimah (05-5487181) or email


What is a Newborn Baby’s Job?

Dr Shan Narayanan – Consultant General Paediatrician
Dr Shan Narayanan – Consultant General Paediatrician

Child Health

“Life is really simple but we insist on making it so complicated.”  — Confucius.

Babies lead a simple life. They eat, sleep and fill the nappy. This is their job. However for young parents it can be very daunting. Caring for a newborn baby is a full time job thus understanding the needs of the newborn makes their care less complicated. In this article, we look at the feeding of a newborn baby.

Newborn babies can be breastfed and/or formula fed. Breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for babies. Breast milk is the perfect food for a human baby’s digestive system. It contains the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires, and all of its components – lactose, protein and fat are easily digested by a newborn’s immature system.

BreastfeedingBreastfeeding requires a substantial commitment from a mother. It also meets a variety of emotional needs for the mother and baby. It burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing mothers get back in shape quicker.

Maternal health both physical and mental health, is key to successful breastfeeding. Mothers, need to be calm and relaxed. It is important they eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as possible.

During the first few days after delivery, mothers produce colostrum, thick and yellowish or thin and watery. Colostrum contains antibodies that help protect infants from a wide variety of infectious diseases.

After about 3 to 4 days of nursing, the breasts will start to feel less soft and more firm as milk is produced. The milk supply is determined by the stimulation the body receives. The more one breastfeeds, the more milk the body produces. If possible, nursing is started straight after delivery or within an hour after the birth. This timing takes advantage of the newborn’s wakefulness as they will spend the rest of the day sleeping. If the mother is unwell or has had caesarean section this may not be possible.

It s important that that baby latches with a wide-open mouth and takes as much as possible of the mother’s areola (the dark-coloured area of the breast) in his or her mouth (not just the tip of the nipple). Mothers may need support in getting babies to latch onto them. This may come from the elders in the family or the midwife who has attended the delivery. In some institutions they have a lactation consultant that advises mothers on breastfeeding.

Sometimes, mothers with inverted nipples have difficulty with feeding. Mothers should avoid using pacifiers and bottles as these are known to cause “nipple confusion” and the baby may give up on breastfeeding.

When one is breastfeeding, one can’t measure the amount of milk the baby drinks during each feeding. If the baby is having four to six wet nappies per day and gaining weight then the baby is getting enough.

Sometimes, mothers are unable to breastfeed as they may be unwell, had a difficult delivery or a caesarean section. In these instances, babies are fed with formula milk till the mother is well enough to breastfeed. Finally, it is the choice of the mother whether she wants to breastfeed or formula feed her baby.

“A newborn baby has only three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.”Grantly Dick-Read


For more information, call Dr Shan’s clinic at Hospital Fatimah 05-546 1345 or email

Inflamed Eyelids

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill talking to us about BLEPHARITIS, or inflammation of the eyelids.

Blepharitis, or “inflammation of the eyelids”, comes from the Greek word “blepharos”, which means “eyelid” and “itis” which means inflammation.


The eyelids usually appear crusted, red and swollen. The crust is yellowish-white and powdery, like the scalp of a person who suffers from dandruff. There may be varied symptoms. In most cases, the eyes become itchy, irritated and sometimes feel dry due to the disruption of the layer of tear film that is normally present in the eye. Contact lens wearers may complain of discomfort and a gritty sensation. This is often mistaken by the layman as “dry eyes”.

When blepharitis becomes chronic, there may not be much signs of inflammation such as redness but just a visible crusting on the eyelid and eyelashes. This may appear a little unsightly especially when the crusting on the eyelashes is visible. You may liken it to a skin condition except that in the case of blepharitis, it affects the eyelid margins where the eyelashes arise. Blepharitis can affect any age, both young and old.

Inflamed eyelids - dr gillWHAT CAUSES BLEPHARITIS?

When the oil glands at the eyelid margins malfunction and produces too much oil (sebaceous secretions), blepharitis can occur. At times, it may be associated with an underlying skin condition called Acne rosacea where there is already a generalised illness of the oil glands of the skin. Allergies to certain cosmetics like mascara, eyelid lotions, contact lens solutions, allergens in the air and some chemicals may also trigger blepharitis.


Blepharitis usually does not cause any serious eye conditions. However, it may cause the following:

1. Stye:

    This occurs when the oil glands of the eye gets infected. A lump appears on the eyelid margin in a localised area. There may be some pus seen on the tip of the stye (appearing like a pimple about to rupture), with surrounding redness of the eyelid.

2. Chronic Conjunctivitis:

    Blepharitis may cause recurrent bouts of conjunctivitis or pink eye. If this happens, eliminating this underlying problem is essential.

3. Chalazion:

    Occurs when the oil glands of the eyelid get blocked. This is painless but appears unsightly with a lump appearing on the eyelid.

4. Cornea Ulcers:

    Due to chronic irritation by the inflamed eyelids and/or a misdirected eyelash growth, an ulcer may form on the cornea. Corneal ulcers are serious conditions.


Good eyelid hygiene is essential to prevent blepharitis. Frequent face washing, warm compresses over the eyelids and removal of eye makeup is important. Remove any crusting present on the eyelid margins. Cleaning the eyelids with a cotton bud soaked in a very dilute (5 parts water to) baby shampoo is helpful to control any excessive oiliness and crust. Basically, every effort must be made to keep the eyelid clean. The other alternative is to use a special over-the-counter Lid Care cleaner. Keep the eyes closed when cleaning. Be especially careful to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes.

If you are in doubt about any eyelid problems, do seek professional help.

State-of-the-Art Cancer Centre Now Fully Operational



By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen


State-of-the-Art Cancer Centre-2

State-of-the-Art Cancer Centre-1

Dr Chan Wee Han has been in his element since the opening of the Wolfgang Cancer Centre in Fatimah Hospital. Oncologist Dr Chan says, “It’s been over four months since the official opening of Wolfgang Cancer Centre and almost two years since I first started providing cancer treatment in Fatimah Hospital. Thankfully, all our facilities and services are up and running smoothly.”

“Our new building which houses the Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator with 160 Leaf Multi Leaf Collimator (Agility), has been treating patients with Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) since March this year. Used mostly in complex Head and Neck cancers, this state of the art radiation therapy delivers precise radiation in 360 degree arcs around the patient. It is also used in Prostate, Rectal, Gynaecological and Brain cancers as well.

Moreover, since April this year, we have been treating gynaecological cancers such as Cancer of Cervix and Uterus with 3-Dimensional Conformal Brachytherapy. Since then, local patients with gynaecological cancers no longer need to travel out of Perak for their treatment.

“With the backing of a strong team of medical physicists and therapeutic radiographers, our radiotherapy services has seen steady growth. We make sure every patient goes through a patient education session with regards to their treatment procedures and care prior to starting treatment. Caregivers too are welcomed into these sessions.”

Its not just the equipment that is impressive. The new Wolfgang Cancer Centre also houses a Chemotherapy Daycare Centre which has a waiting lounge for family members and a counselling room. Patients spend between 30 minutes up till 8 hours in leather recliner sofas or beds while having their chemotherapy infusions. Understanding the frustrations of such long hours and stress, warm meals and drinks are provided but patients can also opt to bring their own food. Astro TV channels are provided for both patients and their waiting family.

It is here that patients and families have the most interaction among themselves and the nursing staff.

“In fact, our trained oncology nurses often carry out patient education, counselling or simply providing support to alleviate their fears and anxieties. Patients are usually from a diverse group of cancers ranging from Breast, Colorectal, Lung or Gynaecological cancers to rarer types such as Melanomas or Sarcomas,” added Dr Chan.

Recently, the centre organized a “Look Good, Feel Good” session for cancer patients which provided them with guidance on makeup, wigs and breast prostheses. Some are cancer survivors which Dr Chan hopes can also help share their experiences with the newer patients. “In fact, many came with food making it a “Potluck” event. It was a good experience and we hope to be able to have more of these events in the future,” enthused Dr Chan.

Knowing the importance of nutritional support, the centre has also arranged for an audio-visual presentation from one of the leading nutritional companies last month. This helped both their patients and staff to better understand the benefits and preparation of their products. There are also patients who are referred to the hospital’s dietician for dietary advice.

Contact Hospital Fatimah at 05 545 5777 or visit:

Do’s and Don’ts with Contact Lenses

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

 Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health Series Continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill Talking About Contact Lens Care.

Many young people these days prefer not to wear glasses to correct short-sightedness and other refractive errors, preferring to wear contact lenses either for cosmetic or sports reasons. Regardless of the reasons, it is important to know how to look after them to avoid contact lens related problems.

There are basically two general categories of contact lenses – soft contact lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses requiring different care requirements. There should be no short cuts in the care of these lenses.

Contact lensSome pointers to take note of are as follows:

1. CLEAN YOUR HANDS: This is the most basic and crucial step before you handle any contact lenses. Failure to do so can result in serious eye infections. It is mandatory to wash hands with soap and clean water, dry them with a clean dry towel, before handling contact lenses. Make sure that the soap is free from moisturizers as it may then end up in the eye, only to cause problems such as eye irritation, eye pain, redness or blurred vision.

2. USE PROPER DISINFECTING SOLUTIONS: It is important to use the proper disinfecting contact lens solutions and enzymatic protein removing cleaners if you are not wearing daily disposable lenses. Never ever use tap water or any other solutions to wash or clean your lenses. Microorganisms easily contaminate the contact lenses and may lead to eye infections. Clean each contact lens carefully by gently rubbing the surface between your palm and fingers. Remember to clean your contact lens case daily too. The contact lens case will also need to be replaced every three months. Never leave the contact lens storage case in the bathroom where moisture and bacteria can settle on it.

3. MAKE-UP: All make-up should be applied after putting on the contact lenses and not before doing so. Likewise, take out your contact lenses before removing eye make-up.

4. LEARN HOW TO WEAR THEM CORRECTLY: Learning the correct method of putting on and taking off contact lenses is essential to prevent the accidental scratching of your corneas or tearing the soft contact lenses. Learn how to recognise whether the contact lenses are the correct way up by placing them on the tip of the finger before putting them on. Make sure that they are the right side up. If not, do remove them and reinsert them into the eyes.

5. DO NOT SWIM WITH CONTACT LENSES: Never ever swim with your contact lenses on. This is because there is a risk of getting an eye infection from a kind of bacteria commonly found in swimming pool water, tubs, oceans and lakes. The organism is called Acanthamoeba. Should this organism get into the eye through contaminated contact lenses, it could lead to an eye infection that is difficult to treat.

Additional pointers:

a-      Remove your contact lenses if you experience any symptoms of eye irritation, redness or eye discharge, excessive tearing, burning, blurred vision or eye pain.

b-      Remove your contact lenses if they feel uncomfortable as they may be torn.

c-      Should you have eye problems associated with contact lens wear, don’t throw them away as you may be required to bring along the lenses when you see your eye doctor as he  may wish to send them to a laboratory to identify the organisms that may be causing your eye problems.

Contact lenses when used correctly, have been a safe alternative to correct refractive errors like myopia. However, if you do not follow proper procedures, you may be unnecessarily exposing your eyes to problems. If you are in doubt about any contact lens related eye problems, do seek professional help.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email