The Health September 2022 | Page 27

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Choosing Selayang over San Diego

WITH the severe brain drain in Malaysia , it is indeed welcoming news when Malaysian doctors and other professionals choose to serve their country .

Gastroenterologist Datuk Dr Ryan Ponnudurai is one such person . He thought about working abroad after graduating from medical school rather than coming back to serve in Malaysia when he left Alor Setar in the 1980s to study in Ireland .
A top-tier , lucrative position at a San Diego hospital in the US was on the table for him . And yet Dr Ryan opted against accepting the offer because he wanted to experience a year or two serving in his own country before returning to the US . “ However , that did not happen . I loved Selayang Hospital so much that I never went back . I gave up San Diego for Selayang , and I have never regretted it .” The gastroenterologist is now based at the Prince Court Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur .
Despite his credentials and being trained in Germany at one of the greatest centres in the world for endoscopic ultrasound operations , he was offered just a Medical Officer ’ s position .
“ The Ministry of Health ( MoH ) then delayed confirming my position as they were unsure how to recognise my qualifications .
“ I showed them the letter of offer from San Diego , which was a US $ 350,000 a year salary and the Nobel Visa ( given to individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences ) given to me by the Americans .”
Despite that , they made him a Medical Officer which is perplexing given that officials at the MoH should be very familiar with such qualifications .
Instead of being disheartened , Dr Ryan set up the gastroenterology unit at the hospital and continued to train others .
“ I said okay , I will continue training other doctors for one year . I literally worked for free , but I did not complain because I thought I was going back to the US anyway .”
His luck changed when a cardiologist treating former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad learned about how the MoH was treating him .
The cardiologist went to Dr Mahathir with Dr Ryan ’ s CV and informed him
of what was happening and that Malaysian talents who had returned were not being duly recognised .
“ Dr Mahathir immediately called up the Health Minister and asked why this was happening . Within two days everything , including my pay was backdated , and I was given a consultancy position .”
Since then , Dr Ryan established endoscopy ultrasound services at the hospital and began conducting live endoscopy workshops for international audiences , performing all sorts of endoscopy procedures .
“ We became world-renowned and even did live transmissions to Harvard University . People were flying in to watch us conduct the procedures . At the same time , the Americans started calling me , asking when I planned to go back .
“ However , I had come to love working at Selayang Hospital , and in the middle of my second year , I told them that I was giving up my San Diego position .”
The 56-year-old said he was also offered various positions at world renowned hospitals such as Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic . However , he turned down all the offers to serve in Malaysia .

Malaysian students heading to Harvard

FIONA Ho Jing Min , Clarice Siow Jing Rou , and Ngu Hui Ling are three UCSI University Doctor of Medicine ( MD ) programme students chosen to participate in a year-long , highimpact research project at Harvard Medical School Brigham and the Women ’ s Hospital in the US .
“ I feel honoured to be selected and given a chance to engage with the research community at Harvard ,” Ho told Star .
The three have been given the opportunity as a part of the university ’ s Star Trek programme , which selects UCSI students for high-impact research at the top universities in the world .
They are among 13 participants
FORMER Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin launched the biography of Tan Sri Dr Ampikaipakan Kandiah , titled The Doctor Will See You Now , on Sept 7 . Authored by his wife Puan Sri Thamayanthi Devi Ampikaipakan , it details Dr Ampikaipakan ’ s life and career as a medical professional and philanthropist , including his work for the Vivekananda Ashrama Kuala Lumpur and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan ( SMK ) Vivekananda . He was also once Chairman of Maika Holdings Bhd , the MIC ’ s investment arm .
“ I always knew that I would lose to his two mistresses — his medical career and his social work ,” said Thamayanthi during the launch held at SMK Vivekananda ’ s Kandiah Hall in Brickfields , Kuala Lumpur . from the varsity who have been offered the Harvard opportunity since 2014 .
The three will concentrate their research on aldosterone signalling , where they will look at what causes aldosterone alterations and how those changes affect the body . Adrenal glands release the steroid hormone aldosterone . Its main function is to control the body ’ s water and salt balance , which impacts blood pressure .
Because cardiovascular diseases are the most significant cause of death worldwide , their research aims to understand better the hormonal process that influences them .

Muhyiddin launches his doctor ’ s biography

Muhyiddin has been a long-time patient of Dr Ampikaipakan , a internal and respiratory medicine specialist at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur . He issued a letter in June 2020 which certified Muhyiddin as cancer-free and well enough to serve as Prime Minister .
Calling Dr Ampikaipakan “ the sort of Malaysian that we all want to see ”, Muhyiddin said that “ we can find true friends in every Malaysian regardless if he is a Muslim , a Hindu , a Christian , a Buddhist , or a person of any religion ”.
“ What we need is a clean heart , with honesty and with compassion that always treats others with dignity , respect and kindness , and this is what Ampi is all about ,” he added .
Also present at the launch was the
From left Ho , Ngu and Siow .
According to Siow , who cited data from the World Health Organisation , 17.9 million people worldwide died from cardiovascular illnesses in 2019 , accounting for 32 per cent of all fatalities that year .
She said aldosterone plays a significant role in the pathophysiology of heart failure . The health of one ’ s cardiovascular system is indirectly impacted by hypertension , which is controlled by this hormone , according to Ho .
From left Puan Sri Thamayanthi Devi Ampikaipakan , Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Tan Sri Dr Ampikaipakan Kandiah .
Raja Muda of Selangor , Tengku Amir Shah Ibni Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj . At the same time , Indian politician Shashi Tharoor provided a video message for the event .

Mohd Shukrie abruptly quits KPJ Healthcare

KPJ HEALTHCARE BHD President and Managing Director Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh stepped down only after five months on the job to pursue other opportunities .
His sudden departure effective Sept 7 saw Chief Financial Officer Norhaizam Mohammad assume the role of officer in charge .
“ On behalf of the board , we would like to take this opportunity to thank Mohd Shukrie for his contributions to the company during his tenure . We wish him the best in his future undertakings ,” Chairman Datuk Md Arif Mahmood said in a statement .
“ In the interim and to ensure a seamless transition , we are confident that with her vast experience in the healthcare industry , Norhaizam Mohammad is fully capable of taking the helm as officer in charge , with the support of the board and the company ’ s experienced senior management team .”
“ Moving forward , the company will remain focused on spearheading our strategic growth plans . Prospects continue to improve in the healthcare sector and KPJ Healthcare is well-positioned to capture the opportunities ,” Md Arif said . – The Health