M.D. Focus: better-brain-health

January 12, 2013
Meet three Bumrungrad physicians as they 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 1,000 world class doctors of the highest caliber, with outstanding professional credentials and advanced training across the full spectrum of medical sub-specialties.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chartchai Srisombut, Gynecologist
Dr. Chartchai is a pioneering physician who helped introduce gynecologic laparoscopic surgery in Thailand 20 years ago. He has served as a professor of medicine at a leading medical institute, sharing his knowledge and expertise with medical students. Dr. Chartchai is regarded as one of Thailand’s most skilled laparoscopic surgeons.

Q: How difficult was the training process for laparoscopic surgery?
A: The most challenging aspect was related to the fact that the senses of touch and sight aren’t naturally coordinated to perform the surgery. You’re using your hands in one area while your eyes need to look at a different direction. By looking at the monitor display during the surgery we also lose three-dimensional view and perception, so we have to practice until we get good hand-eye coordination.

Q: What’s the most memorable situation you’ve encountered as a doctor?
A: There was a married couple who came to me for help with an infertility problem. They had already been to three leading hospitals to undergo in vitro fertilization that was unsuccessful, and they were losing hope.
One day the wife came to see me with severe abdominal pain along with blood in her urine during her period. I found that she had endometriosis in her bladder, rectum and uterus.

This was the first patient I’m aware of to have endometriosis surgery in three different areas at once. The surgery lasted six hours, and the results were good. About six months later, the patient got pregnant naturally and she gave birth to her first child – and a second baby followed later. We still keep in touch with each other.

Q: How would you describe your work philosophy?
A: A professor of mine, who I greatly respect, taught me to prioritize medical ethics and use moral principles, values and judgments to guide my medical practice. One should never compromise for personal benefits.

A doctor must do everything in a manner that is upfront, honest and transparent, and make choices that are in the best interests of the patient. Medical ethics serve as a shield to protect patients and everyone else involved.

Dr. Panida Piboolnurak, Neurologist
Dr. Panida has spent more than 10 years in Thailand and overseas treating patients with neurological disorders and Parkinson’s disease. Her expertise includes Deep Brain Stimulation, an advanced treatment technique which helps improve movement function. Dr. Panida spent four years on the faculty of New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College teaching medical students before returning to Thailand to join Bumrungrad.

Q: What sparked your interest in neurology?
A: Neurological diseases are not widely understood, and I was particularly intrigued by the variety of treatment options being used. While these diseases cannot yet be permanently cured, doctors can play a significant role in helping to control and reduce the severity of symptoms, so patients can enjoy lives that are as close to normal as possible.

Q: Does technology play a major part in your work?
A:  We use a number of advanced technologies to treat movement problems caused by neurological conditions. These ever-improving technologies include Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Botulinum Toxin and certain medications. Medical advances are not only equipping doctors with more disease-fighting treatment options; they are making an important difference in patients’ quality of life.

Q: What principle or philosophy guides you in your work?
A: It is always “patient first”. The doctor is not the sole decision maker in the treatment process; it is his or her responsibility to provide the patient with enough information and make the decision together with the patient. Things like treatment procedures, the pros and cons of each available option and the possible risks need to be explained and discussed with patients before helping them decide on the best choice for their individual situation.
Dr. Veeravorn Ariyakhagorn, Vascular Surgeon
After earning his M.D. degree, Dr. Veeravorn continued advanced training in vascular, endovascular and organ transplant surgery in Berlin, Germany. He returned to his native Thailand to join Bumrungrad’s medical team.
Q: What made you choose vascular surgery and organ transplantation as your specialty?

A:  I have always been interested in liver transplantation. Diseases like liver cancer and liver failure can’t be treated by medication alone, and a patient’s survival may depend on a transplant.

I was inspired that, as a transplant surgeon I could truly help patients live longer, better lives. When patients receive transplants before their cancer has advanced to a severe stage, around 90% show dramatic improvement in symptoms after surgery.

Q: What principles guide you in taking care of patients?
A:  To provide the best possible care, it’s important to concentrate, stay focused and avoid trying to rush the process; resolving a serious medical problem takes time.

Communication with patients is very important. The doctor should be sure the patient understands the doctor’s message in the way it was intended. This helps prevent a lot of problems later on.

Q: What impressions do you have about working at Bumrungrad?
A: Bumrungrad is one of the few private hospitals to have the capabilities and facilities needed for organ transplantation surgery. The facilities here are excellent and there is a real spirit of teamwork across specialties – a very important factor in transplantation surgery.
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