MacPherson doctor who died from Covid-19 was kind, kept fees low to help needy patients

Dr Raymond Yuen of Hosanna Medical Centre died in Tan Tock Seng Hospital after battling the virus. PHOTOS: 365CPS.ORG.SG, LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A family physician at a clinic in MacPherson who died from Covid-19 over the weekend has been remembered as a kind, caring doctor who deliberately kept his charges low to help the needy in the area.

A message circulating on social media on Monday (Oct 11), as well as among various doctors here, said that Dr Raymond Yuen of Hosanna Medical Centre died in Tan Tock Seng Hospital after battling the virus.

Asked about the message, the Health Ministry (MOH) said on Monday night that Dr Yuen, 65, had died from Covid-19 on Oct 9. Expressing its condolences to Dr Yuen's family, MOH added that there is no evidence he was infected by a Covid-19 patient.

Local media outlet 8world had reported a clinic staff member as saying that Dr Yuen could have caught the virus from a patient.

MOH said that Dr Yuen's clinic is neither a Public Health Preparedness Clinic nor a Swab-and-Send-Home Clinic, and that there are no records of his clinic seeing any Covid-19 patients recently.

It added that Dr Yuen had been partially vaccinated against Covid-19 with a non-mRNA vaccine, and had no known medical conditions.

Calls The Straits Times made to the clinic throughout the day went unanswered, but ST understands that Dr Yuen's wake took place on Sunday.

Dr Yuen, who was born in Hong Kong but later became a citizen here, graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1987, and arrived in Singapore in 1990. He got his Master of Medicine from the National University of Singapore in 1992.

Dr Lee Pheng Soon, a general practitioner who worked with Dr Yuen at a clinic in the early 1990s, told ST that Dr Yuen was a "soft-spoken but very friendly person".

He recalled: "He would go out of his way to help people who needed anything extra. He used to give lots of extra time to patients who were concerned, or who did not understand their illnesses, or who just needed the extra attention.

"It's no exaggeration to say some of his patients loved him for his kindness. Many years after he left the clinic... patients would still ask after him, and request we relay their best wishes."

"He would reach out to people who needed help, and go all out to help them," added Dr Lee.

On Monday morning, MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling put up a Facebook post about a caring GP in the area who had died.

She wrote: "I learnt about the great things he had done for our community in MacPherson from residents who used to see him at his clinic.

"They shared about how the affable doctor made visits to the clinic less intimidating. They enjoyed the small talk and tips on leading a healthy and holistic lifestyle, which he was so passionate about. Residents knew that he did so out of sincerity and care for their well-being. Many of his patients became friends with him."

Adding that she was "deeply saddened" by the news, she noted that Dr Yuen had kept consultation charges low so that the more vulnerable residents would be encouraged to seek medical care.

"Many of us are moved by his benevolence to the community. Our thoughts are with his family. I sincerely hope that the family will find the strength to overcome the grief," she said.

Dr Yuen was also in the news in 2005 for his generosity to his foreign maid at the time.

He had gone the extra mile to care for her, such as paying for one year's house rent for her family in Sri Lanka, and flying her daughter to Singapore after her house and school were destroyed in the 2004 tsunami.

Not only did he pay for her flight and put her up in his home, but he also enrolled the girl in school here, and helped to pay for her school fees from time to time.

Speaking to ST at the time, Dr Yuen said: "I think I did very little... Maids have needs and emotions too, and they need privacy like any other human being."

An online memorial for Dr Yuen was uploaded on YouTube on Sunday.

In it, his younger brother, speaking in Cantonese, said: "My brother Raymond was an optimistic person who was always willing to lend a helping hand.

"No matter what he did, he did it with determination and resolve.... He loved God, and also loved his family."

He added: "As your family, we are extremely shocked by your sudden passing, and we miss you deeply. We know we will all meet again in heaven. Till then, shalom (a religious greeting meaning peace)."

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