VI­SION OF THE FUTURE多一分光明

Eye doc­tor Ho Ching Lin plans char­ity events to pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of the health­care char­ity cul­ture and safe­guard fu­ture gen­er­a­tions by fund­ing re­search眼科医生胡庆麟不仅行医,也策划慈善活动,推动本地医疗慈善文化发展,也投资于医疗研究的未来。

ZbBZ (Singapore) - - IN FOCUS - TEXT TEO WOAN YEE / 赵琬仪PHOTOGRAPHY龙国雄

Dr Ho Ching Lin is an oph­thal­mol­o­gist with an eye to­wards car­ing for less for­tu­nate pa­tients. A se­nior con­sul­tant and di­rec­tor of Sin­ga­pore Na­tional Eye Cen­tre’s (SNEC) Glau­coma Depart­ment, she is also SNEC’s head of char­ity and chair of the Li­ons SaveSight Cen­tre’s board of direc­tors.

One of her roles as SNEC’s head of char­ity in­clude helm­ing the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee for the char­ity ball, Eye Ball, held by the SNEC and the Sin­ga­pore Eye Re­search In­sti­tute (SERI). Pro­ceeds from the ball go to­wards the Vi­sion­save cam­paign launched last year.

Health­care char­ity is very im­por­tant is­sue. Said Dr Ho: “The need for health­care ser­vices will in­crease in the fu­ture with Sin­ga­pore’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion. How­ever, health­care ben­e­fits from the gov­ern­ment can­not be in­creased in­finitely. Hence, we need to har­ness more char­ity re­sources to help those in need.”

How­ever, health­care char­ity is in its in­fancy in Sin­ga­pore, un­like in Western coun­tries where ded­i­cated teams at health­care in­sti­tu­tions plan char­ity projects and run day-to-day op­er­a­tions. With­out some­one with charisma and en­ergy at the helm, many ini­tia­tives would prob­a­bly stall.

Dr Ho is an ideal choice to front SNEC’s char­ity en­deav­ours be­cause she is ac­tive on the so­cial scene and has built a strong so­cial net­work and rep­u­ta­tion.

On her ex­pe­ri­ence in or­gan­is­ing char­ity events over the years, she said: “I used to think char­ity is about ask­ing oth­ers for help. But it is re­ally some­thing that opens up more op­por­tu­ni­ties for do­ing good. Ev­ery­one has kind­ness in them but some peo­ple may not know how to put their in­ten­tion into ac­tion. On top of that, there are many ways to do good be­sides just mak­ing mon­e­tary do­na­tions. One can or­gan­ise events, or take part in ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness pro­grammes. There are so many ways to con­trib­ute.”

Dr Ho, who will turn 49 in Au­gust, has worked in pub­lic health­care for many years and treats a wide range of pa­tients, from in­fants to the el­derly, with many of her pa­tients from South-east Asia, while oth­ers come all the way from Europe and the United States.

A spe­cial­ist in treat­ing glau­coma, a con­di­tion that can lead to per­ma­nent blind­ness, she of­ten gets anx­ious pa­tients ask­ing her ques­tions like: “How long more do I have be­fore I go blind? Should I work on my bucket list now?”

As their doc­tor, she aims to help them pro­long their vi­sion for as long as pos­si­ble. When she hears pa­tients say that they are now able to see more clearly and that their qual­ity of life has im­proved, it gives her the the sat­is­fac­tion and mo­ti­va­tion to keep on go­ing no mat­ter how much work she has or how chal­leng­ing her work is.

Work­ing in a pub­lic health­care in­sti­tu­tion suits her, she said. It pro­vides ac­cess to the lat­est med­i­cal tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies as well as the op­por­tu­nity to cul­ti­vate the next gen­er­a­tion of health­care pro­fes­sion­als — she is also ad­junct as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor at the Duke-NUS Grad­u­ate Med­i­cal School where she trains aspir­ing oph­thal­mol­o­gists.

Work­ing in pub­lic health­care also of­fers her many av­enues to take part in mean­ing­ful ini­tia­tives to help fi­nan­cially dis­ad­van­taged pa­tients.

Said Dr Ho: “If I were in pri­vate prac­tice, I would have to con­sider the clinic’s bot­tom­line and might not have the re­sources to help pa­tients who are un­able to af­ford med­i­cal care.”

She holds spe­cial­ist qual­i­fi­ca­tions in two ar­eas. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Na­tional Uni­ver­sity of Sin­ga­pore’s School of Medicine, she com­pleted her res­i­dency as a pae­di­a­tri­cian be­fore mov­ing on to oph­thal­mol­ogy. Only three in 10 physi­cians move on to spe­cial­ist train­ing af­ter com­plet­ing med­i­cal school and those who hold dual spe­cial­ist qual­i­fi­ca­tions are far and few in be­tween.

She has also stud­ied pae­di­atric glau­coma and glau­coma com­pli­ca­tions in adults at Har­vard Med­i­cal School. Her son, an only child, was only eight months old when she trav­elled to Har­vard. To­day, he is 15.

Her ded­i­ca­tion to clin­i­cal work and her pas­sion is clear for all to see, win­ning her praise from many a pa­tient. In May, a reader wrote in to Lianhe Zaobao to thank SNEC’s health­care per­son­nel for their ded­i­cated care, specif­i­cally nam­ing Dr Ho in the let­ter.

Dr Ho packs an im­pres­sive amount of ac­tiv­ity in her day, which be­gins as early as 7am. Lunchtimes and af­ter­noons might be taken up by meet­ings and she knocks off be­tween 6pm and 8pm. If she gets to leave the of­fice early, she has din­ner with her fam­ily, or hits the gym be­fore at­tend­ing so­cial events.

A gym­nast as a child, she now tries to do yoga three times a week be­cause “it re­laxes me and helps me to recharge. It keeps me body lim­ber and gives me strength and stam­ina,” she said.

“The need for health­care ser­vices will in­crease in the fu­ture with Sin­ga­pore’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion. How­ever, health­care ben­e­fits from the gov­ern­ment can­not be in­creased in­finitely. Hence, we need to har­ness more char­ity re­sources to help those in need.”

新 加坡国家眼科中心(SNEC)青光眼服务部高级顾问兼总监胡庆麟医生所治疗的病人,层面非常广,从婴孩到年长者,从普通人到政治人物与社会名流,他们很多来自东南亚国家,也有欧美国家的患者慕名而来,反映SNEC在国际上享有声誉,也彰显胡医生的医术医德受到信赖。

胡医生也是SNEC的慈善总监,以及国际狮子会旗下狮子护眼中心(Li­ons SaveSight Cen­tre)董事会主席。她还是SNEC及新加坡眼科研究院主办的慈善晚宴Eye Bal­l的筹委会主席。去年推出的Vi­sion­save保护视力慈善运动是慈善晚宴筹款支持的重点项目。

本地医疗慈善事业仍在起步阶段,不像西方国家的医疗慈善机构背后有一支分工精细的专门团队负责规划项目,执行日常工作,因此更加依赖富有个人魅力和魄力的推手。胡医生活跃于本地社交界,深受时尚媒体推崇。明艳照人的她多年来在bal­l场建立的人脉和知名度,是SNEC推动慈善事业的理想人选。

采访前一晚收到胡医生的简讯,由于临时得为患者动手术,采访时间从周六早上改为当天下午。采访在SNEC贵宾会诊室进行。面对镜头时胡医生非常专业地配合摄影师建议的取镜角度、姿势。习惯镜头的她非常上镜,灿然一笑,满室阳光,让人完全没有察觉室外乌云密布,刚下完一场倾盆大雨。

胡医生谈到这些年筹办慈善活动的经验,说:“我之前以为慈善是你有求于人,事实上是给别人行善的机会。人人都有善心,有些人可能不知道有哪些方法、途径表达心意。做善事不一定就是捐款,也可以参与筹备、负责教育推广……为公益出力的方法其实很多。”

学医行医的初衷是胡医生热心公益的一大动力。她说,相较于其他医疗专科中心,国家眼科中心的知名度并不高,人们保护视力的意识也相对低。除非是家人或自己亲身经历过,很少人会深虑万一失去视力要怎么办。但一旦失

去视力,无论是工作和生活都将受到重大打击。

胡医生专治青光眼。这是会导致永久失明的眼疾。面对病人无助的反应:“我还有多少看得见的时间?是不是要赶紧完成想做的事?”,医生的内心总希望能为病患争取多一分多一秒的光明。胡医生说,作为眼科医生,每天能有病人告诉她“看得更清晰,生活品质改善很多”,当下的满足感为她注满能量,无论工作多辛劳都会坚持不懈。

胡医生说:“随着人口老化,未来医疗需求将会提高,而政府投入医疗福利的资源无法相应增加,因此更需要借助公益力量帮助有需要的人。”

今年8月庆祝49岁生辰的胡医生多年来服务于公共医疗机构,除了临床、行政工作,也担任杜克—国大医学院研究生学院副教授,负责培养专科医生。

胡医生说,公共医疗服务对她仍充满吸引力。“(任职公共医院)能参与的事情很多,但需要无穷精力才能胜任。”在公共医疗机构任职不但能够接触到最尖端的医疗科技和技术、培育医疗人才,还能借助公益资源帮助经济条件差的患者。

胡医生说:“如果是私人执业,需要考虑诊所的经营,未必有资源帮助那些负担不起医疗费用的病人。”

胡医生拥有两项专科。国大医学院毕业的她以最出色的成绩完成小儿科住院医生实习,继而转修眼科专业。医学院毕业后只有约三成学生迈向专科医生之路;拥有两项专科的医生更是少之又少。胡医生还远赴哈佛医学院专修小儿科青光眼及大人青光眼复杂病症。赴美国进修时,独生子才8个月大。现在儿子已是15岁大的青年,而这位漂亮妈咪依旧充满精力,喜欢接触新事物,无惧新挑战。

胡医生说,当初选择小儿科,是因为自己喜欢小朋友,后来专修眼科,则是希望继续使用灵巧的双手在外科手术台上施展才能。结合小儿科和眼科,让她的专长和志向得到很好的发挥。她全职投入临床医疗,99%时间献身工作,对专业的热爱不言而喻。她的专业精神赢得病人的信赖。今年5月有读者投书《联合早报》言论版,特别感谢SNEC医疗人员的贴心照料,还点名表示胡医生抱病跟进自己的病情,负责和认真的态度值得嘉奖。

处女座的胡医生把一天24小时当36小时使用。诊所平日开放时间是早上8时30分;有时她得参加工作会议或教学,早上7时便开始忙碌的一天。她还会在午餐时间安排会议。她也在鹰阁医院看诊,午餐小休时间正好用来通勤。慈善工作的会议则多安排在下午,一般下班时间是傍晚6时至晚上8时之间。如果当天早下班,在和家人共进晚餐或参加社交聚会前,她会练瑜伽,或健身。

她说:“我希望每星期能练三天瑜伽,可是这个星期就做不到了。”小时候练过体操的她至今仍坚持练习瑜伽高难度动作。“练瑜伽对我而言非常重要。它帮我放松,也帮我充电,使我保持身体柔软,锻炼体能和力量。”

访问结束前,我们约了下回请这位瑜伽达人示范高难度动作,传授练瑜伽以保持活力的心得。胡医生很爽快的答应了。与美丽医生一席话,感觉如沐春风。

“我之前以为慈善是你有求于人,事实上是给别人行善的机会。人人都有善心,有些人可能不知道有哪些方法、途径表达心意。做善事不一定就是捐款,也可以参与筹备、负责教育推广……为公益出力的方法其实很多。”

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