I am thankful that these life experiences have brought out the best in me as a good father, husband and a responsible doctor.

As an Orthopaedic surgeon, I take great pride in my work and I want to provide the best care for my patients. The most fulfilling part of my work is to see good outcomes from the surgeries I do, especially when my patients regain their full functionality. One of the reasons I have chosen to specialise in Orthopaedics during medical school was because of my love for sports when I was younger.

During my youth, I led a very active lifestyle and was always participating in different sporting activities during my free time. I enjoyed sports as they kept me physically fit and mentally strong, especially competitive sports such as Basketball and Taekwondo.

I had just turned 20 when things took a different turn. I was charging for a layup during a basketball game when I heard a “pop” followed by a sharp pain in my knee. As the pain gradually subsided, I thought it was nothing serious and I resumed my usual sports regime. During one of my runs, my knee suddenly buckled with an intensifying pain. That was when I knew my injury was more serious than I had initially thought. After seeing a specialist, he confirmed my worst fears. I had torn my knee ligament and required surgery for it. The news hit me hard. Shortly after, I went from being able-bodied to being a physically challenged person (albeit temporary). Not being able to continue any form of sports was life-changing for me.

Some years ago, a patient, Daniel, saw me for a nagging pain in his right knee which he had been enduring for months. Being an avid football player, he was extremely depressed as he hasn't been able to play for a while. He reminded me of myself and the struggles that I had gone through. Despite having sought medical consultation, Daniel’s concerns were not addressed and there was no definitive treatment for his symptoms. As he was an NSF, he was even accused of malingering by his commanders.

I could empathise with his predicament and understood his wish to continue playing football. When I explained that surgery was the best option for him, his mother could not overcome her shock and was in total disbelief.

Seeing Daniel’s mother struggle reminded me of my mother during the past incident. She was anxious that I needed surgery at such a young age. In fact, I have never forgotten how my mother almost broke down, imagining the worst after waiting anxiously outside the operating theatre for hours, longer than expected on the day of my surgery.

This memory was deeply etched in my mind and influenced the way I approach my patients in their care – the importance of clear communication and setting appropriate expectations. In Daniel’s case, I made a conscientious effort to clearly explain the procedure and recovery plan to him in detail. I encouraged Daniel and his parents to voice out their concerns, clarify their needs and assured them that I would be with them every step of the way. Eventually, Daniel proceeded with the surgery, recovered well and slowly resumed his football matches.

Little did I expect for Daniel and his parents to come to the clinic a few months later to thank me personally. Their words of gratitude warmed my heart and encouraged me to continue doing my best and beyond. Through this encounter, I learnt that I should never judge a patient externally but to keep an open mind and treat all patients equally.

Now that I am a father of 3, I can perfectly understand the anxiety and fears of my patients’ parents and the critical role that family members play in a patient’s recovery. Having missed the birth of my first child due to work commitments, I make an effort to balance my work commitments and work priorities. It is a constant struggle but I am blessed with an understanding wife who keeps me grounded and is always by my side, cheering me on. I enjoy spending time and sharing my experiences with my children who like Captain America and look up to doctors as superheroes.

I am thankful that these life experiences have brought out the best in me as a good father, husband and a responsible doctor.
Han Fucai

About Ng Teng Fong General Hospital & Jurong Community Hospital

The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) and Jurong Community Hospital (JCH) are members of the National University Health System (NUHS), a leading academic health system and one of three public healthcare clusters in Singapore.

Known as the JurongHealth Campus, NTFGH and JCH are Singapore’s first integrated healthcare development designed and built together from the ground up. Designed around the patients’ needs, the twin development enables NTFGH patients who no longer require acute care to be easily transferred to rehabilitate and recuperate in JCH. Both hospitals are also managed by one healthcare team to facilitate integration at all levels to enable better patient care, greater efficiency and convenience. NTFGH is also the first in Singapore and ASEAN to attain HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7, with JCH at HiMSS EMRAM Stage 6 – an achievement which recognises hospitals with the highest level of adoption and utilisation of electronic medical record functions.

As part of an integrated academic health system, NTFGH and JCH, in collaboration with partners in the healthcare continuum, aims to transform healthcare to deliver holistic and seamless patient-centred care.

For more information, please visit www.ntfgh.com.sg | www.jch.com.sg | www.nuhs.edu.sg

Delivering ‘Incredible care and health, together!’