The years of diligence and erudition required to become a doctor is a sacrifice that not many have the fortitude to make. For Dr Daniel Yeo, rising to the challenge was spurred by his sense of duty and service to people.
Being reserved and self-reliant by nature, Dr Yeo needed to adapt to his chosen line of work in more ways than one. Beyond applying himself to grasp the vast amounts of knowledge and skill needed to become a cardiologist, he also mastered the art of connecting with people. More often than not, Dr Yeo observes that he is not just treating the patient, but the patient’s family too.
Being able to converse with patients in three regional languages is an ability that can only be developed with dedication and practice.
“Medicine is all about connecting with people,” explained Dr Yeo. “Patients recognise that you are trying to make an effort to connect. Language is so personal that people will feel instantly at home. So if you can speak their language, that helps to break the ice and establish rapport.”
His empathetic and caring approach was instilled in him since young. Dr Yeo learnt the value of treating everyone with the utmost dignity and respect from his father. A man who made family his focus, Dr Yeo’s father also strove to do his best for his loved ones – an attribute that Dr Yeo emulates in his professional life and beyond.
Dr Yeo shared, “I’m very fulfilled in private practice because I’m able to follow up with my patients in the long term. That is satisfying on many levels as it builds a relationship. And I can also see that they can continue to remain healthy, which gives me confidence that I’m doing the right thing.”
Among the many cases that Dr Yeo attended to in his career, one case that stood out involved a teenager who suffered from severe viral myocarditis – a viral infection causing the heart to fail. The young man’s heart had failed upon arrival. Dr Yeo and a team of skilled medical specialists persevered through intensive procedures such as Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), which takes over the function of the heart and lungs to resuscitate the patient.
Amazingly, the boy fully recovered from this. Dr Yeo is happy to report that he has returned to school where he is excelling in the classroom. This case affirms Dr Yeo that his heart work has paid off.
The best advice that I received is to take advantage of opportunities when they come. When opportunity knocks, we need to grab it because you never know if it will knock a second time. Seize opportunities. Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone
and find the courage to really go for it!
- Dr Daniel Yeo, Cardiologist, Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore