2012 > Aging > M.D. Focus

M.D. Focus

Credit: Bumrungrad International hospital

Get to know our doctors

Meet four Bumrungrad physicians who share their thoughts on a range of heart-related healthcare issues.

Providing the highest standards of patient care requires a hospital-wide commitment and professional expertise. Bumrungrad’s medical staff includes over 900 world class doctors of the highest caliber, with outstanding professional credentials and advanced training across the full spectrum of medical sub-specialties.



Q: In your experience, what aspect of your work has been the most challenging?
A: As a doctor in the suburbs, it can be difficult to correct people’s miscon-ceptions and false beliefs about medicine. I once had to deal with a patient whose paralysis got better after a rinsing with “magic” water. Despite my attempts to show that paralysis can sometimes heal by itself, word quickly spread about the wonders of magic water.      Dealing with patients who brew their own home-made medicine poses a real challenge. Sometimes the home brew contains steroids, giving the patient the impression they’re feeling better at first, and the serious side effects only crop up later. There is still much to be done to change these mistaken beliefs.

Q: What made you decide to join the medical team at Bumrungrad?
A: Although Bumrungrad operates as a private hospital, the management doesn’t focus solely on the business side. The hospital has a good academic atmosphere that encourages learning and collaboration, and there is a strong emphasis on staying true to medical ethics. I feel proud to be a part of the team here.



Q: Are there cases that you find most memorable?
A: I once had a patient from Ethiopia who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer by another hospital. After we ran some tests on his condition, we discovered he was actually suffering from a rare disease called myeloid sarcoma, where leukemia cells combine together to form a solid mass.      Preparing for the treatment was quite frantic, but there was no choice but to rush because of leukemia’s fast-developing nature. There are cases like this from time to time, where the original diagnosis is not correct and where you really see how having fully competent medical staff and advanced technology makes a difference in producing an accurate diagnosis.

Q: What challenges you the most in your work in oncology?
A: It is always difficult when a patient’s cancer is not treatable and the prognosis is terminal. We oncologists, need not only to provide end-of-life care for patients but also to assist families and loved ones. It is a difficult time for everyone involved, and we have a duty to alleviate as much of the pain and grief as possible.



Q: What made you decide to become a cardiologist?
A: Back when I was a medical student, my grandmother suffered an acute myocardial infarction. Despite my newly-aquired medical knowledge, there was nothing I could do but stand and watch. That sealed my decision to become a cardiologist; I didn’t want to feel that powerlessness again.

Q: What types of cases leave the most lasting impression?
A: I once met a patient suffering terribly from advanced cardiovascular disease. Before coming to see me, several hospitals had told him they could do nothing to help. My diagnosis confirmed that treating him would be quite risky, and that he might live longer by skipping treatment.      But the patient couldn’t bear the symptoms and asked to proceed with the treatment anyway. It was very difficult indeed, but in the end it was successful. As a smile returned to the patient’s face, I felt so proud that I was able to help give him a new lease on life. 

Q: What interests you most about interventional  cardiology?

A: I’m very intrigued with how the procedure involving catheterization to restore narrowed coronary arteries may also have applications for other blood vessels in the brain, kidney or legs. Being well-versed in all the body’s veins and arteries gives me the opportunity to collaborate with other specialists, and I get a fuller picture of each patient’s overall health.



Q: What is the most challenging aspect of being a neurosurgeon?
A: I’ve found that the most challenging part of neurosurgery comes when deciding whether or not to proceed with surgery. In cases where a patient’s tumor is in contact or very near a critical area of the brain, attempting a complete removal may risk impairing the patient or, in the most serious cases, the patient may not make it through. It’s vital that the neurosurgeon be able to judge whether surgery will successfully remove the tumor or if other, safer methods such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy should be performed instead. 

Q: What types of cases leave the most lasting impressions?  

A: One of the most vivid cases involved a woman during her eighth month of pregnancy. After she fainted, we discovered she had a large brain tumor that required immediate surgery.     We couldn’t operate with her lying on her back because the baby’s weight would prevent proper blood flow. So we had no choice but to operate with her lying on her side. The surgery was successful, and we safely delivered the baby the following morning. Originally we thought we might have to make a choice between the mother and the baby surviving, so it was a great relief that we were able to save them both. 

Q: What principles guide you in your work as a surgeon?
A: I always strive for perfection in each and every case. Medical errors can be major setbacks; the risks can be higher when complex procedures and multiple professionals are involved. My style might be seen by some as uncompromising, but there’s no room for compromise when it comes to the safety of patients. Neurosurgery requires that I stay completely focused on what I am doing at the moment I’m doing it; that’s the only way that the treatment can even come close to perfection.

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