About Dr Khoo Saye Thiam
Each Patient Is Precious & Unique
Dr Khoo Saye Thiam recognizes that every patient is “an individual, with different lives, backgrounds, needs and expectations”.
This is the very reason he tries his best to identify and fulfil these needs as much as he can. As a consultant general surgeon for the past 26 years, he has faced his share of challenging and at times, high-risk cases.
Yet no matter how challenging his cases are, whenever possible, he involves his patients in the decision-making process, thereby empowering his patients.
“Each and every patient of mine is precious and your experience as a patient is of vital importance to me”, says Dr Khoo.
He takes care to sit each patient down and carefully explains the surgical procedures as clearly and as patiently as he can even if this takes an hour or more.
It is all too easy for patients to be “de-humanized” in today’s hospitals, no thanks in part to the role technology plays in surgery.
To this end, he holds that an operation is not worth doing unless it can be done well.
This surgery philosophy has won him many grateful patients. Some have their own ways of thanking him – one patient has, faithfully, year on year, presented him with a box of the best mooncakes each Mid-Autumn Festival for giving him a second chance at life.
“That is why I do not claim to do every possible type of operation. When I do an operation, I give my wholehearted commitment, without compromise, backed by 26 years of surgical experience.”
Dr Khoo says that being able to do an operation well is not enough. He sometimes takes the role of a compassionate friend and counsellor.
“For some patients, the path their illness takes them is lonely and difficult and surgery, frightening and overwhelming.”
Such patients need not walk their journey alone as Dr Khoo is known to guide, advise and offer care and in his own words, “always navigating the safest way forward”.
He believes deeply that a doctor’s competence has to be linked with honesty, kindness and compassion.
“I believe it is always a privilege to be able to treat and help patients, regardless of their background. The trust they place in me as their doctor is not a responsibility I take lightly,” he says.
His biggest reward is seeing patients get better.
And sometimes, some patients even manage to teach him a thing or two about life, illness and death for which he will always be humbly grateful.
“If you have a surgical problem, or just need advice, do send me an email or give me or my nurse a call. I will be happy to help in any way I can,” says the good doctor with a smile.
Dr Khoo’s Professional Journey
Felt Totally At EaseI like his way of explaining the surgery to me – it was clear and easy to understand. Dr Khoo spoke to me like a friend which made me feel totally at ease.
Dr Khoo Saye Thiam trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College, London and following that, worked at various British hospitals before qualifying as a surgeon in 1987.
He returned to Malaysia in 1992 to teach at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. After 4 years of teaching, he decided to return to Penang as a consultant general surgeon to work at the Lam Wah Ee Hospital, a not-for-profit hospital.
At Lam Wah Ee Hospital, Dr Khoo undertook a wide range of difficult surgical conditions, some quite rare. During his time at this hospital, he developed an interest in laparoscopic surgery.
He recounts that he performed the first Endoscopic Thyroidectomy at Hospital Lam Wah Ee in 2006, a procedure that has since gained popularity.
As Lam Wah Ee Hospital is a not-for-profit hospital, he felt privileged to have been able to help many patients of limited means during his 15 years there, something he is quite proud of.
With an eye on fresh adventures and new perspectives, Dr Khoo decided to join Gleneagles Penang in February 2012 as a consultant general surgeon.
He is a member of Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia, Penang Medical Practitioners’ Society and the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (College of Surgeons).
Dr Khoo speaks English, Malay and Hokkien. Nurse Thilaga assists him in Clinic 118, Gleneagles Penang.