Don't Just Be a Doctor
Dr Thiru Thirumoorthy was there when Singapore’s first graduate medical school opened its doors in 2005. It was a familiar yet no less exciting journey for the pioneer faculty member of Duke-NUS Medical School: he had also helped set up the Department of Dermatology at the Singapore General Hospital.
In addition to his professional contributions, Dr Thirumoorthy has also made multiple personal gifts to help the School’s postgraduate medical students financially.
“Medicine is an intensive course. If students are worried about finances, then the educational mission is lost,” explained Dr Thirumoorthy.
Having spent many years in private practice, Dr Thirumoorthy has a wealth of knowledge to share with his students. The subjects he teaches include ethics, professionalism, health law, medical law and communications with patients. However, what he deems as the most important lesson for a medical student to learn is to have a true heart for patients.
“What is a doctor’s mission? To relieve suffering. But human suffering is complex and limitless. I always tell my students to live by these three golden rules: don’t just be a doctor, but be a good doctor; always put others’ interests above yours; and discover your full potential so you can help others to the best of your ability,” Dr Thirumoorthy shared, emphasising that integrity, competence, respect for patients, and compassion are important values that should stay constant.
On giving generously to help medical students, Dr Thirumoorthy quoted an Iranian saying shared by a patient: “When we leave, the shirt has no pocket”, referring to the sobering fact of life that we leave behind all our material possessions when we pass on.
He remarked, “In life, we have all been helped by someone. I hope the students I help will understand this and go help someone else when they can. This will be the best thanks I can get.”