Put the heart back into medicine

The report on Nov 14 ("Complaints against doctors at all-time high") provides an interesting insight into the state of current medical practices and professional malpractices of doctors here.

It stated that there were 40 complaints of rudeness and attitude and communication issues.

In the past, locally trained medical doctors had excellent clinical teachers to coach them on their bedside manners.

Local senior doctors would remember one of the excellent clinicians, the late Professor Gordon Arthur Ransome.

He taught his students from first principles and focused on the vital importance of the use of the five senses in the practice of medicine.

He maintained high standards and was known to give students a zero mark when he found them lacking in clinical examinations on patients.

The way he treated patients was fair. He would treat a beggar by the roadside in the same way as he would a well-to-do foreigner. He had a strong sense of commitment, compassion and professionalism.

Modern diagnostic tools and affluence may have eroded the values system in our society. Now, the practice of medicine in Singapore is becoming more commercialised than it was in the past.

It is time to relook and examine our education system, values system and attitude towards life.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)