An interview with Dr Stanley Liew by Gloria D. Gamat
What was the driving force that made you decide to become a doctor? And why the interest to specialise in Endocrinology in particular?
Dr Liew: The driving force behind my decision to become a doctor was my belief that medicine is an intellectually stimulating career. It involves life-long learning as it is constantly changing with new discoveries and research. Most importantly, it allows me to alleviate human suffering and contribute to the society. During my undergraduate training, I was fascinated by the complex ways in which our body functions. Endocrinology was a specialty which captivated my interest. It is concerned with the study of hormones and how they coordinate different body functions.
“One of my proud moments was when a patient expressed his appreciation of my treatment of his medical condition. It made me feel that all the years of hard work and learning was worth it.”
ENDOCRINOLOGIST STANLEY LIEW
What were the difficulties and challenges you encountered when you were just starting, and as you advanced in your career?
Dr Liew: The first couple of years of the medical course required a considerable amount of rote learning. Medical examinations were also tough and intimidating. One of the early challenges I faced was in coping with the death of patients. It was not easy to witness the death of a patient for the first time. It is even more difficult if we know the patient for some time.
What are the important milestones and achievements that you are most proud of?
Dr Liew: One of my proud moments was when a patient expressed his appreciation of my treatment of his medical condition. It made me feel that all the years of hard work and learning was worth it.
Through the years, are there developments in your specialty that have been positive or negative? What is your stand on this?
Dr Liew: The field of diabetes has been evolving at a rapid pace in the last few decades. The developments have been positive because the new discoveries and treatments have improved the quality of life of millions of people with diabetes. I am a strong advocate of preventive medicine.
What do you think could be done better in your field of specialisation?
Dr Liew: I believe that more can be done in increasing the awareness of the dangers of diabetes. Many patients are still unaware that diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb loss. Some of these complications can be avoided if their diabetes is controlled better.
What would you consider to be the best things about your work?
Dr Liew: It is a great privilege of my profession to be able to make a difference to our patients’ quality of life. In terms of my own specialty, I can put into practice my belief in preventive medicine. For example, early and good control of diabetes prevents complications such as gangrene, renal failure, stroke and heart disease.
How does work affect your family life?
Dr Liew: I enjoy reading about current affairs, business news and politics. I like to keep abreast of the latest developments in other parts of the world.
If you can live your life all over again, would you still aspire to become a doctor and choose the same specialties?
Dr Liew: Definitely. I would still choose to be a doctor because I have thoroughly enjoyed being one. Practising medicine is stimulating. I face challenging cases and get to learn new information each day.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring young doctors out there?
Dr Liew: Listen to and learn from patients. They teach us much more than all the textbooks out there.