Sarawak Electives: Part 2 (Medical)

just on a side note, i’m flying back tomorrow. SUPER BIG SIGH. had a nice time with my high school classmates Qiuhong, Cheeling and also the once-every-10-years meet up with Tiffany! Apparently she just stopped over KL for AMSA (asian medical students association) conference and she snuck out to meet us and some other high school mates.

Chatting with old friends just makes me miss the old times. It’s kind of scary growing up sometimes. listening to tales of working life (which is equivalent to NO LIFE for some lol) and wondering which of our friends will get married the earliest. somehow I’m still stuck with the thought that i’m still in my teens with adult responsibility still not very much in sight. but that’s probably cause i’m still studying and studying just makes you feel younger XD

Anyway back to my sarawak electives.

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Dr Wong suggested that we get these 3 books for our electives. The Sarawak Handbook of Medical Emergencies was pretty useful when it came to some diseases unique to the locality; like meloidosis, leptospirosis, malaria and dengue fever. imagine having 4 malaria patients lying side to side in a single ward! @@

Sarawak General Hospital

Spent 3 weeks here; first two weeks in Medical department and third week in Paediatrics. I guess the major difference in patients would be that over here patients present pretty late; eg those with infections would usually present with sepsis. their delayed health seeking behavior is usually due to the distance they have to travel and also the trouble they have to go through just to see a doctor (which may sometimes take days!); so they usually try to self medicate first. (we came to know that some traditional medicine that they took sometimes contained glucocorticoids so they would sometimes present with Cushingoid features!)

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With Dr Lau from the Endocrinology department. Followed him on his clinics and came to know that the doctors can spend an average of 20 mins on a patient! That’s actually not bad (the average consultation time in hong kong is 5-7 mins ><) The specialists here are really well trained and i truly see what it means to provide holistic care for the patients. and it probably helped reinforce my passion in Medicine cause it reminds me that it’s not about the disease but the patient. how  patients can suffer from the same disease but present differently; or at least complain of different things.


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In paediatrics oncology ward with Lazarius. The cutest boy ever! He has some kind of rare B cell lymphoma admitted for chemotherapy. It was only after the photo was taken that I realised I shouldn’t have touched him with my white coat on >< Lazarius was so talkative and cheeky that one could have easily forgot that he was actually sick. His mother showed me some of his old pics and apparently he’s getting better and has gained quite a bit of weight =)

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With Dr. Zaw, the MO that we follow rounds with in the female private ward (with air conditioning hee)

Bintulu Hospital

Only spent one week here so didn’t get to see much. But we got to follow Dr Wong on his ward rounds and see how he managed the rapport with his team; both during and off work hours. We would usually cook at his home for dinner and he would sometimes invite his MOs over; we even had a candlelight dinner together when there was a sudden electricity shortage (and we cooked with our headlights bought for Niah National Park! lol)

Dr Wong and his team.

2013-06-28 21.30.53Spent 3 days in Paediatrics ward with Dr David, a visiting doctor from Sarawak General Hospital. Really enjoyed his ward rounds and clinics! (even though we couldn’t answer some of his questions when he quizzed us ><) I have never seen a doctor who tried explaining the disease to every single one of his patients during clinic follow ups (as in he would ask if the patients knew about their disease, and if they knew, he would ask them to explain it back to him) and he would also try to address and talk to the child once the child reached schooling age. Anyway it was just an awesome experience. Starting to love paediatrics more!

Going to sleep soon after some final checks and rechecks to make sure i don’t miss packing anything.

What a summer. =)