Illustrious rheumatologist dies at 79

Prof Feng Pao Hsii founded Singapore's first rheumatology department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in 1995.
Prof Feng Pao Hsii founded Singapore's first rheumatology department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in 1995.

Prominent rheumatologist Feng Pao Hsii died in his sleep on Saturday. He was 79.

Colleagues described Professor Feng's career as no less than illustrious. He founded the country's first rheumatology department in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) in 1995 and played an integral role in starting rheumatology departments in other hospitals. Rheumatology is a study of medical conditions involving mainly the joints, small tissues and auto-immune diseases.

Prof Feng retired in 2010 but continued as emeritus consultant at TTSH's Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology Department, and visiting consultant at National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Raffles Hospital.

Dr Bernard Thong, who heads TTSH's Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology Department, said Prof Feng personally trained the first generation of rheumatologists and contributed to the growth of the discipline in Singapore. There are some 60 rheumatologists today.

"He was a passionate and driven individual," said Dr Thong. "He loved to share his knowledge with everyone, including the seniors and juniors. In the past, he would photocopy articles from medical journals and leave it in the pigeonhole of staff." When e-mail became the norm, he would send this information in weekly e-mails to his staff. He was also active on Facebook to keep up with the younger generation, added Dr Thong.

Prof Feng's nephew, Mr Yaw Yan Chong, 51, described him as a man of few words but with a good heart who loved to read and be with his family.

Prof Feng is survived by his wife Alice Ho, 78.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2015, with the headline 'Illustrious rheumatologist dies at 79'. Print Edition | Subscribe