News @ AsiaOne

Winning doc lauded for tireless dedication

For a quarter of a century, Professor C. Rajasoorya has gone out of his way to mentor young doctors. -myp

Wed, Jul 06, 2011
my paper

FOR a quarter of a century, Professor C. Rajasoorya has gone out of his way to mentor young doctors.

Even though the senior consultant endocrinologist at the Department of Medicine in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital is not required to take juniors under his wing, he dedicates a few hours each day to coaching rookies.

Aside from spending at least two hours every morning doing ward rounds with junior staff, he conducts revision tutorials for final-year medical students.

"I was married to my job before I married my wife," Prof Rajasoorya, 55, said half jokingly.

He married a former staff nurse five years ago, and they have a 31/2-year-old son.

For his tireless commitment, he received the inaugural National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award from the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.

Clinicians are those working in the fields of medicine, clinical research and training, and who ensure clinical quality.

The award recognises clinician educators who teach, guide and inspire the next generation of clinicians. It is a new category under the National Medical Excellence Awards (NMEA), now into their fourth year.

Prof Rajasoorya's dedication is all the more remarkable as he had to cope with a rare congenital disorder called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, making it hard for him to climb stairs without railings and to walk upslope.

However, he has not allowed the condition to hinder him. "I teach because of passion, not because I expect a reward. The urge to teach comes from a sense of ownership, like how parents naturally want to teach their own children," he said.

A part-time senior consultant with MOH, he conducted interviews with postgraduate trainees to understand the weaknesses in postgraduate education, and his report led to a review of the training programme.

He is among nine clinicians awarded the NMEA this year. Recipients received a trophy, citation and a prize of $10,000 from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at Pan Pacific Singapore yesterday.

Among the winners was a team that made the news in 2007 for shortening the door-to-balloon time for heart-attack patients, which measures the time taken from the point a patient arrives at hospital to when he receives angioplasty. Angioplasty is a procedure to clear blocked arteries that are preventing blood from flowing to the heart.

The team clinched the National Clinical Excellence Team Award.

Thanks to the team's efforts, the National University Hospital reduced the median door-to-balloon time from 103min to 68min six months after making changes to the emergency work flow in 2007.

As of last December, the time was reduced further to 57min - well below the internationally recommended timing of 90min.


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