Shaw Lodge Dormitory on 24/09/2023
"...I am very grateful and honoured for being able to observe the doctors up close, as I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the doctor-patient interactions, and truly felt fulfilled seeing the smiles of the patients. This experience has undeniably ascertained my resolve that serving others in this way is what I want to do for a living. I have great admiration for how methodologically and accurately the doctors were able to ask questions to lead up to a diagnosis. I was furtively taking notes on the various symptoms and line of questioning that can lead to a successful diagnosis; as well as what the prescriptions for the various ailments were. I could see the importance of deductive reasoning and problem solving skills. I was also able to pick up valuable skills such as taking blood sugar, and also observed how instruments such as an otoscope are used. It was a very enriching experience. One of the key moments of the session was when we were luckily able to identify a medical emergency. A man had a persistently high systolic blood pressure of around 200mmHg for 2 hours; which was a stroke waiting to happen. At Tan Tock Seng General Hospital A&E, I followed the man in to ensure that he was attended to by the staff. One thing that was an eye-opener for me was the migrant worker brother’s reaction to his predicament. When he got emotional and started crying, I was shocked by how he was not entirely worried about his health, but rather, the medical costs involved and how his employer would react..."
Alaunia Lodge 22/10/2023
Today I spent about 10 minutes talking to a brother. A small part of it was the consult. Most of it was asking him what’s life like at work, how are conditions, how long have u been here, how’s your family. It was an unhurried conversation, I genuinely wanted to know what these gents are facing. At the end of it he said - I feel very happy to have been able to talk to u openly like this.
And it struck me, as cliched as it sounds, that a lot of what we do is actually not so much prescribing meds or treating their conditions. Most of the times the conditions are very superficial and easily treatable. But we provide a listening ear, a caring voice, a way for them to see someone native to them caring for them.
And so for the rest of the session today I focused not so much on trying to provide a solution to the problem, but more of trying to genuinely have a conversation with them. Today was not terribly busy so we had that luxury
What struck me most today was their longing for connection. It wasn't medical attention they needed; but it was the warmth of human interaction.
Many of them simply yearned to converse in their native tongues, and I can't put into words how their eyes lit up when they found that connection, when we spoke in Tamil. It was a moment of pure authenticity, a space where they could open up about their concerns without the fear of judgment.
As Dr Tousif and Dr Hamid shared we had the privilege of offering assistance with their medical issues, but more importantly, I could be there for them as a friend and a brother.
It’s a reminder of the profound impact we can have by not only treating ailments but also by being that empathetic presence in the lives of those we care for.
- Kaushik Ilango (Medical Student)
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