Saturday, December 24, 2011

All I want for Christmas - the doc edition

Today, Tuesday December 20, 2011, Page T8 - T9, Health
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By Eveline Gan,, 04:45 AM Dec 20, 2011

PHOTO: Docs have wishes, too.
GETTY IMAGES, Copyright © MediaCorp Press Ltd
Today, Tuesday December 20, 2011, Page T8 - T9, Health

If one could bestow gifts of health, what would they be?

YOU might be hankering for the latest iPhone, that nifty gadget or beautiful handbag. But for people who are grappling with illnesses, their greatest Christmas wishes would simply be that of good health. This festive season, we ask 12 local medical professionals what they think makes the most meaningful gift of all for their patients.

1. The best gift of all for my young patients would be the chance to realise their potential in life. The heartbreaking thing about serious illness striking young ones is the possibility of lost potential. Even though their illness means that life would never be the same again, my hope for them is that they (and their loved ones) grow stronger with adversity and strive to achieve all that they can. - Dr Mei-Yoke Chan, senior consultant, paediatric haematology/oncology, department of paediatric subspecialties at KK Women's and Children's Hospital

2. With all the medical advancements on HIV treatment, the best Christmas gift of health for my patients is hope. I wish that people living with HIV don't give up because there is a lot of living to be done even if they're diagnosed with HIV diagnosis. I also wish the same positive hope could come from society towards people living with HIV and to give them the same respect and opportunities in life like anyone else. - Dr Arlene Chua, senior consultant, infectious disease department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)

3. The best Christmas gift of health for my patients would be love and care from their loved ones, as well as the people they come into contact with. The warmth of a caring and loving heart can motivate patients in times of need and give them the necessary support in their coping and recovery process. - Ting Yi Ting, medical social worker, care and counselling department at TTSH

4. This Christmas, I wish that all those suffering with any eye diseases get healed and achieve good vision. I think the best Christmas gift for your loved ones could be the gift of sight. It would be great to uncover those beautiful eyes with a gift that enables someone to get the most out of life. - Dr Natasha Lim, Singapore Medical Group's medical director of Centre for Eye Surgery and The Lasik Surgery Clinic

5. With Christmas coming, it is easy to over-indulge. With an abundance and variety of food ranging from cheese, wine, turkey, potatoes and sweets, it is not hard to believe why people need to lose weight or reduce their blood sugar levels and cholesterol after the festive period! My Christmas wish would be for all food and sweets to be free of calories, sugar and fat! That way, people can enjoy the festive season without gaining weight and being at risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes! - Dr Ben Ng, consultant, endocrinology department and programme director for Eastern Community Health Outreach (ECHO) programme at Changi General Hospital

6. I wish that there will be many more Christmases for my patients. When one is in life's twilight years, every second and every moment counts. Every Christmas is a milestone achieved in that journey of life. This Christmas, I will pray that those old patients of mine who might be feeling lonely and neglected will find solace knowing that there are people who really care, that they matter and their life counts. I also wish that courage and strength will guide the path of our families who have chosen to take on the heavy burden of caring for a loved one who is old, sick, suffering and dying from some illness or other. My final wish this Christmas is for a more compassionate, more personal and kinder healthcare for all Singaporeans. - Dr James Low, head and senior consultant, geriatric medicine at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

7. I wish for everyone to have a good pair of useful hands. Each pair of hands is unique in form and a marvel to observe in action, whether it is a baby picking up a toy for the first time, or a pianist's hands dancing over the keys. The hand is usually unappreciated unless the person does not have one, or loses function due to disease or injury. When its use is impaired, a person finds that activities done previously without conscious thought, such as reaching for an object or greeting someone with a hand shake, become difficult or even impossible. - Dr Alphonsus Chong, consultant, Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Centre at National University Hospital

PHOTO: Cook healthier meals for your loved ones.
GETTY IMAGES, Copyright © MediaCorp Press Ltd
Today, Tuesday December 20, 2011, Page T8 - T9, Health

8. Surely, the best gift you can give your loved ones are the healthier meals that you could prepare for them during Christmas. Try experimenting with whole-grains, for instance, or make use of herbs and spices in cooking rather than relying on salt and sauces. Why not download our Healthy Chef app for interesting recipe ideas - such as Red Rice and Silken Tofu Timbal, Grilled Chicken with Mushroom Salsa or Bruschetta Magherita - this festive season? - Lim Meng Thiam, nutritionist, Centre of Excellence for Nutrition at Health Promotion Board

9. Christmas is a special time of the year which reminds me that the most important gift of all is the gift of life. My wish for the coming year is for more people to come forward and support organ and tissue transplants to save more lives. We have many people in this country (and the world) who need an organ due to disease or end-stage failure. Let's pledge not to bring our organs to heaven; God knows we need them here on earth. - Professor London Lucien Ooi, director of SingHealth Transplant and chairman of SGH Division of Surgery and senior consultant at National Cancer Centre Singapore's Department of Surgical Oncology

10. For people who suffer from diabetes and obesity, it's the excess weight that drives the diabetes and therefore achieving significant weight-loss can really transform their lives. No one believes that they can lead a normal life with diabetes; that they can stop taking medication and just control diabetes on diet and exercise alone. The usual response is: "Huh? I thought once you get diabetes it is a life sentence?" If you have "diabesity", my wish for you is to start the weight-loss journey, because there is still hope! - Dr Shanker Pasupathy, consultant at department of General Surgery and director of the LIFE Centre at Singapore General Hospital, who specialises in weight-loss and diabetes surgery

11. My wish is for all those burdened by the problems of addiction, regardless of their religious backgrounds, to find peace. May they realise that such peace is the best Christmas gift for themselves and their loved ones, and only starts when they say "yes" to positive change in their lives. - Dr Charles Mak, registrar, National Addictions Management Service at Institute of Mental Health

12. Scientists in Japan have grown a tooth from mice stem cells and successfully transplanted it into a mouse's jawbone. My wish would be to be able to realise every dentist's dream of replacing a patient's missing tooth with a real tooth! Currently, the only way to replace a tooth is through titanium dental implants, bridges or dentures. Dental implants remain the gold standard in replacing missing teeth and have been in existence since 1952. Almost 50 years later, technology has advanced to such a degree that they are now 95 per cent successful in all cases. Imagine if 50 years from now we are able to do away with titanium in exchange for real enamel and dentine. It certainly gives the phrase (All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth) a new ring to it! - Dr Chin Shou King, dental surgeon and director of T32 Junior

By Eveline Gan,, 04:45 AM Dec 20, 2011


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