Global Health Asia-Pacific Dec 2021-Jan 2022 Dec 2021 - Jan 2022 - Page 40



The Cardiology Practice was born out of one interventional cardiologist ’ s passion and expertise .
By the age of 10 , Julian Tan knew he wanted to be a doctor . Watching his paediatrician father , he had seen first-hand the costs — the long hours and hard work — but also the rewards in being able to help others in lifechanging ways .
Julian strived hard to enter the field of interventional cardiology , the work of diagnosing heart conditions and then intervening , in minimally invasive ways , to treat them .
As a young doctor , Julian trained in high-volume centres both in Singapore and abroad . He moved into private practice in 2015 which gave him the time and resources to extend his passion to help in other ways , such as medical mission work in Nepal .
Julian remains a visiting consultant at several restructured hospitals , contributing his expertise and experience to public healthcare . The emergency cases he treats at public hospitals have been some of the most challenging and motivating .
“ When an acute heart patient arrives at these hospitals and I ’ m on the roster , they will call , and I ’ ll have to rush down within 30 minutes and establish flow in the blocked artery , unchoke the water pipe as it were , within 30 to 40 minutes ,” he said .
As an interventional cardiologist , he does his work not with a scalpel , but with tools and techniques that can
Dr Julian Tan
be deployed while a patient remains awake . For example , when performing coronary angioplasty , he inserts a tiny catheter via an artery in a patient ’ s leg or wrist and threads it all the way to the blockage where an attached balloon is inflated to push aside fatty deposits or plaque . Similarly , stents , which are mesh tubing that might also release medication , are also inserted this way , to keep the artery open .
“ The more challenging the case , the more I ’ m in my element ,” said Dr Tan .
“ We ’ ve seen younger and younger patients , men and women in their prime , who come in with heart attacks .
And if we don ’ t do what we do , they potentially lose their lives . They have young children , families , and livelihoods that might be ended if they are sole breadwinners .
“ So there have been memorable moments where I ’ ve been able to pull a young man or woman back from the brink of death by doing what I do with angioplasty . To be able to do that , and reverse what is invariably a death sentence , that ’ s something that excites me and motivates me to do better . Each time I get called in at 3am , and I fix the heart and the patient is alive , it really is a privilege to be placed in this position , to be able to help someone like that . I ’ m thankful for the opportunity ,” he added .
At the end of the day though , it ’ s not the money that keeps Julian in this line of work . “ Many people do their work in most part because it pays the bills , so I feel privileged and blessed to have found this niche , to be able to do work that I ’ m good at and tremendously passionate about .”
38 DECEMBER 2021 - JANUARY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com