2014: Issue 29

BetterHealth Magazine by Bumrungrad International Hospital RSS Feed Follow BetterHealth by RSS

M.D. Focus

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.

 Dr. Suriya Chakkaphak
Dr. Suriya Chakkaphak Surgery - Gastroenterology & Hepatology
In addition to being a general surgeon, Dr. Suriya has expertise in the digestive gastrointestinal functional disorders and is a pioneer of the country’s first Gastrointestinal Motility Lab.

Q: How did you develop an interest in acid reflux?

A: About 20 years ago, there were few physicians in Thailand who had intensively studied this condition. Applying what I learned from my studies in the United States, I found that esophageal motility disorders are multifaceted, and this is especially the case with acid reflux. When I returned to Thailand I wanted to increase public awareness of this condition, so I established a lab to study the function of the esophagus and the anal sphincter, and to find ways of more effectively treating patients. At that time there was almost no awareness of gastro-esophageal reflux disease in Thailand, and clearly there was a great need for discussion and education.

Q: What principle guides you in your work?

A: Always treat patients as if they are members of the family. I used to work as a government physician, so have experience treating patients in both government and private hospitals. I have treated poor and rich alike. No patient is entitled to special care above others, and doctors have to provide the best possible treatment to all, using equal standards.

Dr. Worakij Chalermskulrat
Dr. Worakij Chalermskulrat Medicine - Critical Care Medicine (ICU), Pulmonologist (Lungs)
Dr. Worakij completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and fellowships in Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care Medicine, and Lung Transplantation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he subsequently served as a faculty member for the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine and as an attending physician at University of North Carolina Hospitals. Ten years ago, he returned to Thailand to join Bumrungrad with primary responsibility in Critical Care Medicine.

Q: What should be the characteristics of a critical care specialist?

A: Intensive Care Unit or ICU is a specialized unit that provides technologically advanced care for patients with the most severe and life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Critical Care specialists must apply a wide range of medical knowledge in races against time. It requires not only abilities to work instantaneously, precisely, and decisively under pressure but also to work collaboratively with experts from other medical/surgical specialties and healthcare professionals to care for the critically ill.

   In addition, as most patients in the ICU are helpless and outcomes are not always satisfactory, we must practice to the fullest of our ability, and in an ethical manner, so there will be no regrets.

Q: What made you decide to join Bumrungrad?

A: Bumrungrad is, without question, one of the best hospitals in Thailand. At the time I decided to join, the hospital had a vision to become the first in pioneering the field of Critical Care Medicine in the country. As there are a number of U.S.-trained doctors practicing in various specialties at Bumrungrad, I thought this would be very beneficial to overall patient care and would support my endeavor to develop international standard ICU practice in an ICU in Thailand. And I was right.

Dr. Rujapong Sukhabote
Dr. Rujapong Sukhabote Medicine - Gastroenterology & Hepatology

One of the country’s top gastroenterologists, Dr. Rujapong heads the hospital’s Digestive Disease Center. He has led Bumrungrad’s adoption of advanced approaches such as capsule endoscopy, partial liver transplants, and the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) program.

Q: What made you choose gastroenterology as your specialty?

A: Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine that is consistently advancing in terms of academic knowledge. In the past, there has been a tendency toward specialist medical procedures not being readily available in general internal medicine practice. I found the subject of great interest, because there is a strong research element and there are consistently aspects that appear to have no clear answers. I feel there is always something to learn.

Q: What kinds of medical situations leave the most enduring impressions?

A: There are many. But I would choose the first patient I treated here, a liver transplant that served as the first case of its kind at Bumrungrad. This patient was very sick with various diseases, starting from kidney cancer where we had to cut one side of the kidney; later we found bladder cancer, while the remaining kidney failed and needed to be washed and replaced. The patient also displayed symptoms of cirrhosis and a viral infection of hepatitis C. But after the liver replacement, this patient could live a normal life. She was able to travel with her children and lived to see them become adults.

    During the operation, we had everything set up just as we would in the U.S. Even though this was a first for this hospital, I had confidence in the capability of the team. We spent hours making sure the patient and family members understood the treatment procedures and we were able to convey our confidence to them. That operation was a great success.

Dr. Lily Chaisompong

Dr. Lily Chaisompong

Medicine - Internal Medicine (Geriatric)

Dr. Lily is one of Bumrungrad’s pioneering physicians helping to introduce holistic diagnosis and treatment into geriatric care before referring patients to specialists for further in-depth treatments. Dr. Lily has over 10 years-experience in geriatric medicine at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School in the United Kingdom.

Q: Are there cases that you find difficult or challenging when treating patients?

A: Caring for the elderly can be challenging. Most of our patients have many complications associated with aging which need to be explained to them directly. We also have to explain these to their family members so they understand too. Therefore good and ongoing communication is necessary. Moreover, the fact that some of the patients are at the end of their life, and with sensitive complications, makes each decision important. We need to work cooperatively with other members of the healthcare team and be good listeners to provide the best care to both our patients and their loved ones.


Q: What sparked your interest in geriatrics?

A: My interest was always to take care of patients holistically. During my medical studies in England, I found that geriatrics is the specialty which is best suited to take care of patients with that holistic approach, particularly in an ageing society. So I found myself most suited to this specialty.

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