Recognised for care and service in field of healthcare

(From left) Ms Serlina Eng, senior case manager at the Institute of Mental Health; Prof David Sim, head of the heart failure programme at the National Heart Centre Singapore; and Mr Lim Kim Seng, a volunteer at the Singapore Disability Sports Council
(From left) Ms Serlina Eng, senior case manager at the Institute of Mental Health; Prof David Sim, head of the heart failure programme at the National Heart Centre Singapore; and Mr Lim Kim Seng, a volunteer at the Singapore Disability Sports Council, were recognised at the Healthcare Humanity Awards on Thursday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

When Associate Professor David Sim took over as head of the heart failure programme at the National Heart Centre Singapore in 2009, he was the only heart failure specialist, working almost seven days a week. This went on for five years, till a second specialist came aboard in 2014.

"As long as I was not overseas, I would be around every day, including Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays," said Prof Sim, 43.

One of his patients, Ms Diana Tan, 52, credits him for saving her life. The single mother of three had ignored her symptoms for 15 years as she felt she could not afford treatment. By the time she consulted Prof Sim in 2015, she had advanced heart failure.

"I felt tired all the time and I thought maybe it's better to die, but Prof Sim told me not to give up on my life," Ms Tan said. "He would come and check on me every day, sometimes twice a day."

Under Prof Sim's care, Ms Tan's heart ejection fraction - a measure of how much blood in the left ventricle is pumped out with every heartbeat - improved from 15 per cent in 2015 to about 50 per cent today.

Prof Sim was one of 83 people recognised at the 16th Healthcare Humanity Awards at Orchard Hotel on Thursday. The annual event, organised by the Courage Fund, pays tribute to healthcare workers, caregivers and volunteers who go the extra mile, said Madam Kay Kuok, who chairs the fund and the National Healthcare Group.

She said: "Their care not just uplifts but also empowers and influences their charges to take better care of themselves and to live well."

 
 
 

Ms Serlina Eng, 44, a senior case manager at the Institute of Mental Health, was another award recipient. Besides providing counselling and case management for patients, she started an initiative called The Hut, a drop-in centre that offers a safe space for patients, staff and the public to interact casually.

She has also raised over $10,000 for various charities by running ultramarathons, most recently a seven-day 250km race through Mongolia's Gobi Desert. She said of the award: "This will inspire me to push myself even further, especially in helping others and in patient care."

Mr Lim Kim Seng, 58, who has been volunteering at the Singapore Disability Sports Council's sailing programme since 2007, was one of 10 people who got an honourable mention, the award's highest accolade.

Every weekend, he spends his time helping physically disabled sailors in and out of the sailboats, assisting them in rigging the sails and washing the boats afterwards.

The avid sportsman has a disability of his own. When he was three, an accident left him deaf and unable to speak. "I want to motivate young disabled athletes to be more confident. Many of them feel inferior because of their disabilities. I want to help them boost their confidence through sports," said Mr Lim using sign language.

President Halimah Yacob and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong gave out the awards. Each recipient got a medal and a cash award of $1,500. Those with an honourable mention received an additional $500.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2019, with the headline 'Recognised for care and service in field of healthcare'. Print Edition | Subscribe