Smiling as she cares for premature babies

Dr Vidya Ramasamy says teamwork is key when it comes to caring for preterm neonates.
Dr Vidya Ramasamy says teamwork is key when it comes to caring for preterm neonates.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Q I have a strong interest in managing pre-term neonates because...

A My career started with the care of newborn babies, including premature babies.

I started developing an interest in caring for them and I realised that even though pre-term neonates are so small in size, they can be very resilient.

Teamwork is key when it comes to caring for pre-term neonates. It involves doctors, paramedics and the baby's parents, and I enjoy being part of the team.

Q I come across all types of cases from…

A Healthy children who come for vaccination to pre-term neonates with complications - such as those with a life-threatening infection or bleeding in the brain - and children with congenital malformations who need multi-disciplinary management.

Q A typical day for me would be…

A One that starts with some personal quiet time - I pray and reflect on things that I am thankful for.

Then, I am off to my clinic, where I see my patients and handle various responsibilities that are under my care. My work usually ends around 5.30pm, when I will head home for some personal and family time.

Q One little-known fact about pre-term neonates…

A Pre-term neonates can perceive our care and bonding through sound and touch, though they are so young and are not able to communicate directly with us.

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    Age: 40

    Occupation: Specialist in paediatric medicine and consultant, Raffles Children's Centre

    Seeing a sick and lethargic child making a quick recovery and becoming cheerful again always makes her day, said Dr Vidya.

    Before joining Raffles Hospital, she practised at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) as an associate consultant in neonatology.

    She is involved in neonatal care, does childhood vaccinations and developmental assessment, and manages common paediatric illnesses. Her main area of interest is in managing pre-term neonates.

    Dr Vidya completed her paediatric training in KKH and was accredited as a specialist in paediatric medicine in Singapore in 2014. She then did her sub-speciality training in neonatology at KKH and was accredited as a neonatologist last year.

    An Indian citizen and a Singapore permanent resident, Dr Vidya accompanied her husband to Singapore in 2002 when he was working here. Her husband, 44, runs a sales business involving engineering parts used in the oil and gas industry. They have a nine-year-old son.

Q Patients who get my goat are…

A Parents who avoid participating in the decision-making on the optimal care of their children.

But it's an uncommon scenario. I rarely see parents who are unable to handle the impact of an unusual diagnosis such as chromosomal disorders, and avoid participating in the care of their babies.

Q Things that put a smile on my face are…

A A smile can do wonders and many things make me smile. These include greeting my colleagues and interacting with them.

I enjoy attending to children. They are cheerful and never fail to make me smile.

Q It breaks my heart when…

A The health of sick neonates deteriorates despite maximal medical support while parents are looking for hope, and when we have to break the bad news to them.

Q My best tip is…

A Knowing that how we feel about others and life is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves inside. The first step is to start to love ourselves.

Q I wouldn't trade places for the world because…

A I love what I do and want to devote my time, energy and life to it. Clinical work is what I most like.

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Dr Vidya Ramasamy says teamwork is key when it comes to caring for preterm neonates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2017, with the headline 'Smiling as she cares for premature babies'. Print Edition | Subscribe