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
‘eating potatoes’ i.e., westernised and speaking
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.”
QUICK FACTS ABOUT
DR KOO CHIEH YANG
University Heart Centre, Singapore
Current research areas:
and cardiovascular health
A people person by nature,
Dr Koo Chieh Yang brings
cheer and warmth to the lives
of his patients and colleagues.