World Family Doctors’ Day Series 2021: Part 1 of 3
"Medical came as a natural choice for me," said Dr Wong Ann Mei, Senior Staff Registrar, Post-Acute & Continuing Care at SKCH. Ann Mei had discovered her genuine interest in science and the pathology of disease from her very first biology lesson in secondary school, and has never looked back since.
As a family physician, Ann Mei appreciates the opportunity to care for patients from all walks of life and being able to look after their different healthcare needs. She shares that apart from being just a cough-flu-runny nose doctor, a family physician has the competency to treat the entire life trajectory of a patient; from pre-natal, to childhood, at adulthood and eventually in old age and palliative care.
Given the broad spectrum of family medicine, she enjoys the daily challenge to make the best recommendations for her patients. Her greatest satisfaction comes from being able to build the trust and relationship with her long-term patients and helping them to keep their health issues under control.
Ann Mei shares a memorable patient encounter she once had:
"Shortly after starting work in SKCH, I had the privilege to care for Mr Tan (not his real name), a patient who was suffering from end-stage cancer and had decided on comfort care after a pathological hip fracture. Mr Tan was medically stable, except for episodes of pain and breathlessness.
Each morning, Mr Tan would prepare for his rehabilitation sessions with a smile on his face, tossing jovial banter back and forth with our healthcare team. I was deeply touched by his positive attitude, sense of humour, honesty and bravery despite the uncertainties he was facing at the end stage of his life.
Even though Mr Tan is no longer with us, I look back on my memories of him with fondness and gratitude. I often remind myself to emulate his kindness, compassion and positive attitude, to likewise touch the lives of my patients. To me, a doctor's role is to cure sometimes, to relieve often and to comfort always."
Working in the healthcare industry inevitably comes with its up and downs. To which, Ann Mei's way of unwinding from the stresses at work includes reading a good book while slapping on a hair and face mask and with a huge mug of tea in hand!
Being a mother to two young children, Ann Mei enjoys spending most of her free time with her family.
"Our idea of a perfect day spent together starts with cycling at the park, going for our favourite Japanese meal, having fun at an indoor playground and ending the day with snuggles and secrets during bedtime."
Ann Mei also strongly believes that prevention is better than cure, and here's one important health tip that she would always give to her patients:
"Many visits to the clinic or hospital to deal with complications of disease can be avoided with preventive care. Making simple lifestyle choices such as choosing a healthy diet, regular exercise for at least 150 minutes a week and going for health screenings when appropriate all add up towards a longer, more fulfilling and healthier life."
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