Dare to be Different”
In the last 22 years that I have been in private practice, I have dedicated my professional life to laparoscopic surgery and infertility. I started my laparoscopic surgery training after spending 2 months with Prof Song and Dr. Lee Chyi Long at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in 1994. After that I gradually honed my skills by visiting laparoscopic surgeons in di erent parts of the world, watching them operate and at times assisting them. I am indeed grateful to these doctors who have unselfishly shared their knowledge and skills with me.
The uptake of laparoscopic surgery in Malaysia is disappointing. One of the reasons is because in Malaysia there are not many teachers in this field.
Over the years, many Malaysian OBGYN specialists have requested to watch and assist me when I perform laparoscopic surgeries. Foreign gynaecologists have also spent weeks learning these skills under my guidance. However, I felt that these short training stints were insu cient and a longer training
programme would benefit young gynaecologists who are keen to learn both laparoscopic surgery skills and infertility management. I felt this training could also be done outside a teaching University Hospital. Therefore, in 2013, I decided to be di erent. My years of acquiring advanced skills and knowledge as a laparoscopic surgeon, allowed me to try something that had never been done before — to start a Fellowship in Laparoscopic Surgery and Infertility, in a private hospital in Malaysia.
I had many doubts about starting this programme:
1.Would a private hospital allow me to start this Fellowship?
2.Would the Ministry of Health recognize my programme?
3.Would any gynaecologist be interested in the training I intend to o er? 4.Would I have enough cases in laparoscopic surgery and infertility
to train gynaecologists?
5.Would my private patients agree to be seen by other specialists?
My journey started with me first talking to the chairman of the board of directors of Mahkota Medical Centre, Dr Gan See Khem, who was courageous enough to give me her blessing to start the programme. Unfortunately, the credentialling and privileging committee of the Mahkota Medical Centre wanted all Fellows to have a postgraduate degree exceeding 3 years. I wrote to the Ministry of Health for approval and got a reply which was equivocal: neither an approval nor a disapproval of the programme.
With this in hand, I advertised the Fellowship in the newsletter of Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia and the Malaysian Medical Association. My first Fellow was Dr. Thinakaran Malappan, a gynaecologist from Ipoh who spent 3 months with me. I was as apprehensive as he was in starting this programme. My second Fellow was Dr. Agilan Arjunan, who trained under me for 1 year. I have included a copy of their experience, training under me. I currently have my third Fellow, Dr. Senthil Muthuraman who has been with me since February 2016.
I have learnt a lot after starting this Fellowship. Although, it is impossible to be perfect in patient management, having a Fellow keeps me on my toes. As my Fellows are always watching me, my management must be evidence
based. A young mind will question everything so I learn and improve myself everyday. Of course, I teach whatever I know to my Fellows hoping that their stint with me will be beneficial to increasing their skills and knowledge.
On the whole, I have enjoyed this challenge of having Fellows in my practice. I think all doctors have something to teach and something to learn from other doctors. The teaching of young doctors should not be confined to just government and teaching hospitals. The Health Ministry should recognize and accept willing and qualified private practitioners to train these young doctors, as well. Teaching may not be every private practitioner’s cup of tea but I am sure, if given the opportunity, many will want to do so.