I decided to specialise in anaesthesiology because...
I wanted to do something that had some medicine - as in diagnosis or internal medicine - some procedures and some physics.
I enjoy remembering the principles of physics I learnt in school. Unlike what many people think, medicine is not all about biology.
In my job, you have to understand how the machines work as well as how the gases flow.
This discipline is fascinating because...
You need an in-depth understanding of the body in order to control to some extent its functions when a patient is under anaesthesia.
You also get to interact with a big team of nurses, doctors from various disciplines and other health-care workers.
Working in a big hospital like Singapore General Hospital gives me the opportunity to keep in touch with various medical specialities and state-of-the-art treatment.
If I were to give an analogy for what I do, I'd be a...
Pilot. My job is to plan the 'route', assess the 'weather', control the plane, especially at take off and landing, and make sure my team members are on the same page so the passengers have a pleasant 'flight'.
Very often, the passengers don't even know the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make the flight happen safely.
I have come across all types of cases...
From small babies weighing less than 500g going for heart surgery to 100-plus-year-old darlings needing a repair of their hip fractures.
I have seen patients who want to look prettier through cosmetic surgery to patients who need major surgery for tumours.
A typical day for me would be...
To start administrative meetings at 7.30am with my department staff, performing operating theatre work, seeing patients post-operatively, and talking to staff and patients to make sure I understand the complexities of the surgery.
I end the day with paper work and head home to be with my family. I have a quick run or workout before or after dinner.
I go to bed between 11pm and midnight. I need seven hours of sleep in order to function properly the next day.
I love patients who are...
Direct and frank.
I like them to tell me what they are worried about.
I also like them to be able to understand that we do our best but God takes care of everything else.
I like patients who are positive and trust that I will do my best but, unfortunately, as we are all humans and every patient is different, I can't always guarantee perfect results.
Patients who get my goat are...
Those who expect there will be no pain and no discomfort after surgery and anaesthesia.
And those who think that anaesthesia is just like going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning, so why would they have a sore throat or any other problems?
I sometimes wish patients would remember that they can always wake up with a stiff neck, even without having undergone surgery.
A few little-known facts about anaesthesiology are...
That it is a speciality in its own right. There are many patients who think we are nurses or that it is the surgeon who puts them to sleep.
Another little-known fact is that one can die from anaesthesia complications which are not preventable because they could be due to congenital conditions or other risk factors.
And that anaesthesia can be the safest or the most dangerous medical adventure of your life.
Things that put a smile on my face are...
Patients who wake up happy or those who recover from surgery to tell me their fears were unfounded.
Patients who simply say 'thanks'.
I remember once I was humming a tune as I was sending a patient off to sleep and he started to sing along.
When he woke up, he carried on with the next sentence of the song!
It breaks my heart when...
Things don't go well and my patient does not make it.
It breaks my heart to see the sadness and loss for the family; and also when I have to tell patients' relatives that there is nothing more we can do for their loved ones.
I wouldn't trade places for the world because...
I love what I do. I can still learn a lot from everyone around me, including my juniors.
I like teaching and sharing what I know with the next generation of doctors.
I feel that I contribute to keeping patients safe.
My best tip is...
Let us know what you worry about most, such as pain or the risk of amnesia, and let us advise you on the anaesthesia that would be best for you.