Meet four Bumrungrad physicians who share their thoughts on a range of healthcare topics. Providing the highest standards of patient care requires a hospital-wide commitment and professional expertise. Bumrungrad’s medical staff includes over 1,300 world-class doctors of the highest caliber, with outstanding professional credentials and advanced training across the full spectrum of medical sub-specialties.
Prof. Dr. Chulaporn Roongpisuthipong, Physician specializing in Clinical Nutrition
With over 30 years of experience treating malnutrition in patients and holding important leadership positions in the field of nutritional medicine, Prof. Dr. Chulaporn Roongpisuthipong is known as a skilled doctor and educator in nutrition management. Before joining Bumrungrad, she was the head of Nutritional Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital Faculty of Medicine and was the chairperson of the Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition of Thailand.
Q: What poses the greatest challenge to a doctor of nutritional medicine?
A: Educating the public on the importance of nutrition is the greatest challenge. Many people are suffering from malnutrition, but don’t realize it. There is no typical malnourished person. Both slender and overweight people can be nutritionally deficient. Malnourished patients, who have been treated with good practices, will have better outcomes and reduce the length of hospital stays. For example, elderly patients who spend long stretches in bed tend to become emaciated, but on the appropriate nutritional programs they are rejuvenated.
I am pleased and grateful that Bumrungrad is addressing the problem of malnutrition and takes a leading role in helping patients deal with the issue. We have a strong team comprising nutritionists and nurses who assess the nutritional statuses of every patient and recommend specific programs to treat malnutrition.
Q: What medical situation has left the most enduring impression on you?
A: It was the case of an elderly American woman who fell, causing multiple fractures, and unfortunately, was also blind. She was critically underweight, only about 40 kg, and also had pancreatitis. As I formulated a personalized diet, her condition quickly improved. If we had not provided nutritional care, her injuries would have taken a much longer time to heal.
Q: What’s it like working at Bumrungrad?
A: Bumrungrad is one of the few hospitals providing the parenteral nutrition compounding service. Nutritional pharmacists are on call to formulate dietary supplements for individual patients in our TPN clean room. The TPN program’s high standards and good management system proves that Bumrungrad places high importance on patients’ nutritional health.
Dr. Nussra Wongrattanapasson, Dermatologist, specializing in Skin Aesthetics
Dr. Nussra had graduated in Dermatology from the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University. She has worked at Bumrungrad for over 17 years and was the driving force in establishing the hospital’s renowned Skin Center (Dermatology). At present, 29 dermatologists are on staff at the Center.
Q: Why did you join Bumrungrad?
A: We at Bumrungrad are committed to the highest quality of patient care. All doctors have complete freedom in doing their work, honor one another, and do not see patients as mere customers. In complicated cases, our medical staff works collaboratively as a team, with specialists in different fields to help solve difficult cases. Working here gives me great pride.
Q: What is most challenging about practicing dermatology?
A: Gaining patients’ trust is the most challenging thing because people tend to think that skin diseases are insignificant and are only a matter of beauty. But that is not so with diseases such as skin cancer or epidermolysis bullosa.
Q: How has dermatological technology changed in the last few years?
A:It has changed a lot. Dermatological treatments include oral medicines, external drugs, intravenous injections, liquid nitrogen, and artificial ultraviolet light. These treatments are still in use, but the quality of drugs and equipment has continually improved. There are new and more efficient medicines that have fewer side effects. We now have skin-nourishing creams that greatly reduce inflammation, which means we can cut down on the use of steroids. There have also been advances in aesthetic treatment technology such as botox, filler, radio waves, and microwaves.
Dr. Wannee Ketmalasiri, specializing in Rehabilitation Medicine (Physical Therapy)
For more than 20 years, Dr. Wannee has improved the quality of life for numerous patients through her work in the government and private sectors. She graduated in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, and has resided in the USA to study hand rehabilitation and myofascial pain syndromes.
Q: Describe the work you do as a physiotherapist?
A: Doctors in rehabilitative medicine have to work with doctors from other fields such as neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and pediatricians. We integrate several fields of knowledge to take care of patients in a holistic manner. I not only provide treatment at the hospital, but also work with patients after they leave the hospital to help with the ongoing improvement of their conditions. For example, I help guide patients in organizing their living environment at home and give advice to their caregivers to ensure that patients continue to properly and safely recover.
Q: What’s the most memorable situation you’ve encountered as a doctor?
A: A 20-year-old patient with neurological degenerative disease was unable to move his body due to joint stiffness and weakness of the whole body. He suffered from malnutrition and was extremely thin and bedridden. Our first challenge was to make him able to sit. Eventually, he was able to walk for short distances and could sit in a wheelchair and control it.
Another case was a child with cerebral palsy who lived with her mother. The patient could move and walk slowly with crutches. I wanted to enable her to live independently. Her mother believed that she was incapable of learning. I had to work with her mother, the school, and others to get her into school. Eventually, she was able to finish primary school.
Q: What principles guide you in your work?
A: My mother taught me to treat my patients with the same care and compassion I would have for her. She also reminded me that no one goes to see the doctor if they are already healthy and happy. I should be patient with them and not be the cause of any more problems or stress.
Dr. Matana Kettratad D.D.S., PhD, Cert. in Geriatric Dentistry
After graduating from the Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University, Dr. Matana studied Geriatric Dentistry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She was the first dentist in Thailand to graduate in this field.
Q: What sparked your interest in geriatric dentistry?
A: Upon graduating from Chulalongkorn University, I became a faculty member at Thammasart University. The administrators realized the population trend and the need for oral health care within the elderly population. They encouraged me to study geriatric dentistry because no one had yet practiced this field in Thailand. I was inspired to bring the knowledge back and pass it on to the new generations of Thai dentists. Back then, there was an increase of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in the hospital, but so little we knew on how to take care of this group of patients. So, it was not hard for me to make the decision to go.
Q: Describe the differences between the care for elderly patients vs. younger patients.
A: Most elderly people have several diseases or conditions requiring several types of medications, so planning their dental treatment is more complicated than with younger patients. Patients who are frail or with cognitive impairment often cannot cooperate in carrying out treatment. Therefore, family and caregivers are essential, both at the clinic and at home, because good oral health requires daily attention. When I see patients’ children and grandchildren taking care of them, I feel pleased and relieved.
Q: What are your impressions of working at Bumrungrad?
A: Bumrungrad has a very good patient database system. All the information we need to formulate good treatment strategies is available on our computers. When we plan treatment for elderly patients, it’s very important to have easy access to all of their medication information and medical history. For example, Bumrungrad’s New Life Healthy Aging Clinic has teams from several fields, and the database is specially designed to streamline our elderly patients’ data. Besides the medical records and medication information of individual patients, there is detailed information about geriatric conditions, medicinal herbs, nutritional supplements, and information for caregivers – which optimizes the efficiency of patient care.