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D

r Koo Chieh Yang is a familiar and

friendly face at the National University

Heart Centre, Singapore, where he

cheerfully greets the nurses by name

and is acquainted even with the cleaning sta .

On his daily rounds, the candid 31-year-old

uses various languages and dialects to reach

out to patients decades older than him. He is

fluent in Cantonese and has picked up Hokkien

and Malay on the job.

The Senior Resident explains the benefit of

speaking in his patients’ native tongues:

“Elderly patients would immediately open up

and develop an a nity for you, which is unlikely

to happen if you are

jiak kang tang

(Singlish for

‘eating potatoes’ i.e., westernised and speaking

only English).”

Taking time to connect with patients, as Dr Koo

has discovered, reassures them and helps them

better handle their conditions. Although doing

so can be time-consuming, the thoughtful doctor

particularly enjoys this aspect of his work.

“As medical professionals, we are exposed to

human experiences that are very humbling. No

other job lets you into people’s lives to make an

impact in quite the same way,” says Dr Koo. He

sees patients with various heart conditions in

his daily work.

Besides doing his best for his patients through

clinical duties, Dr Koo also dedicates time and

e ort to heart-related medical research as he

thinks it is important to “stay inquisitive and

challenge oneself when young”. He is currently

enrolled in a Masters of Clinical Investigation

course at the National University of Singapore

to further his research interest.

Describing himself as the “medical equivalent of

an adrenaline junkie”, Dr Koo was attracted to

cardiology because of its fast pace and intensity.

But he admits that if he were not a doctor, he

would have contemplated an “idyllic” life as a

fisherman. He is equally modest about his medical

aspirations. “I want to inspire confidence in

patients, and be someone whom they trust and

have a genuine connection with.”

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QUICK FACTS ABOUT

DR KOO CHIEH YANG

Qualifications:

MBBS (Distinction)

Department:

Cardiology, National

University Heart Centre, Singapore

Current research areas:

Sleep apnea

and cardiovascular health

A people person by nature,

Dr Koo Chieh Yang brings

cheer and warmth to the lives

of his patients and colleagues.

THE

HEART

MATTERS

FRESH

PERSPECTIVE

12

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JAN 2017

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