Although deployed at the Singapore EXPO Community Care Facility on 12-hour shifts and six-day cycles to look after COVID-positive migrant workers, Dr Stanley Poh does not feel like a fish out of water. This is because many SNEC and SERI colleagues have also stepped up to volunteer. “I particularly enjoy the camaraderie working with people from different departments. Overall, it has been an eye-opening and enriching journey,” he shares.
Despite being in the trenches with familiar faces, the task at hand is still daunting for Dr Poh, especially the first day he stepped into EXPO and came face to face with many patients. He works in the Sick Bay, dealing with common complaints such as chest pains and headaches, and occasionally handles new admissions.
“It is heartwarming to have people with various expertise guiding each other when dealing with more complex cases. We have a cardiologist who offered to guide us and interpret all the ECGs, a few radiologists to read chest x-rays, nurses who are familiar with wound care to take care of wounds, and myself providing some input for eye-related cases from time to time. In order to reduce our exposure to the virus, we communicate with patients via Zoom outside clinic hours,” he reveals. “We will then assess the severity and decide if there’s a need to attend to patients physically in the halls.”
Dr Poh is always conscientious about safety protocols. “We have to be meticulous with infection control measures to ensure safety for everyone. We change into scrubs before a shift, and shower before going home,” he describes. “These meticulous processes, plus the donning of PPE, have protected us.”
When asked why he decided to volunteer, Dr Poh replies, “I felt it was the right thing to do. It has been very encouraging to see many senior doctors and nurses volunteering and taking on this deployment.” Most of Dr Poh’s friends and family are supportive of his volunteer work, and constantly remind him to take good care of himself. He assures them that frontline workers are well taken care of. “The welfare here is nothing short of amazing! We are constantly fed, and even treated to bubble tea and ice cream.”
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