February 12, 2016 2400
GetDoc: Hello Dr Jeyanthi. Thank you so much for talking to us. Tell us how and why you chose this line?
Dr Jey: Thank you, it is an honour. Just call me Dr Jey. I have always wanted to be a doctor. My extended family is large where my father is the 12thchild out of 13 in total. I have uncles who are doctors and I have around 12-15 cousins who are doctors too. They are also married to doctors. I wanted to be a doctor too but my father didn’t agree since he felt it was not a right field for a woman.
He asked me do either accountancy or biomedical science. My dad enrolled me in South Australian Matriculation course. However, 6 months into the course, I spoke to my aunty and mom about it. My father finally agreed to let me do medicine since I wanted it so badly.
So I was off to India where other cousins were in their finishing phases while another was just entering as well. I completed the course and returned. I wanted to do radiology. I worked at the radiology department in Hospital Kuala Lumpur for almost 5 years. Unfortunately, I had to quit due to unforeseen circumstances. One of the radiologists at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Dr Josephine (she is in Pantai Medical Bangsar now) got me a job as a GP at a cardio clinic opened by 2 Institut Jantung Negara doctors in Petaling Jaya. I worked there for about one and half years.
GetDoc: So did you continue there? Did you study radiology?
Dr Jey: No, I did not do Radiology.Working as a GP was not my passion because it was so unexciting after experiencing radiology. Not to forget my love for machines. As a GP, I had some free time in between attending to patients. So I would surf the internet and on one such day, I found something to do with lasers and machines and something called Aesthetic Medicine. This was way back in year 2002-2004 when there was very little information available.I then got myself attached to CN Health and Beauty. They had a medical sector and I was their in-house doctor at their Bangsar clinic.
GetDoc: Oh that’s a change. So how did it go from there?
Dr Jey: I was with them for 4 years. I learnt hands-on about lasers. I still had not gotten any official training. I just had working experience. I then started studying dermatology and went for the graduate certification with the Academy of Family Physicians Malaysia (AFPM). I did this under Dr Chandran. I then also got a Certification in aesthetic medicine with American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM). While at CN health, in 2006/7, I got into the Malaysian Society of Aesthetic Medicine. I was actually one of the founding members.
I was the treasurer and then Assistant Secretary until about a couple of years back. Now I am a committee member. Everything we did for the society was self-sacrifice, (both in terms of time and money). Now it is a very strong society. I then opened up a clinic in 2008 Jan. And, here I am.
GetDoc: How difficult was it initially?
Dr Jey: It was difficult because it was hard when you open a clinic and the only form of advertisement was through word of mouth, it was quite slow. It was hard, but with God’s grace and my family’s support I have been able to achieve success.
GetDoc: What keeps you motivated despite the challenges?
Dr Jey: My daughter is my inspiration. She was always the focal point for me and I wanted to provide the best for her. I am a very family-oriented person. My sister was yet another pillar of support for me. My friends helped too. Dad helped me so very much because he set up the foundation for my clinic and sometimes when you are trying to break even and need the extra cash, he was always there for me–both for mental and financial support. My mother helped with my daughter so I could concentrate on my work. Once I am done with work, I go straight home. We are good examples of the proverb “Early to bed, Early to rise” – We are in bed by 9/9:30 and up at 5am! I love cooking and eating with my daughter. We also love reading and going on holidays.
GetDoc: Doctor, can you tell us more about the services you provide at your clinic?
Dr Jey: Majority of the cases are for acne and scarring. I do a lot of peels, laser rejuvenation and micro-needling. Next would be laser hair removal, Botox in KL.
I love doing face contouring and face lifts. I also treat other minor skin problems as well as hair loss treatments.
GetDoc: What do you love doing the most?
Dr Jey: I love treating the face. I love it when I see the happiness in my patients’ faces, when there is a change even when it is just a case of uncontrollable acne. I always tell them that it is not the amount of products or money spent, it is how you use it and the type of product used. Iadopt a safe and conservative approach when treating my patients. I always tell them not to waste their money on products and facials, which is why I retained most of my patients, since I am not pushy. In that sense I would say the doctor-patient relationship is good. I need to make them comfortable so that they will be able to trust me.
GetDoc: What other programmes do you offer?
Dr Jey: I have other programmes on weight management and nutrition.
GetDoc: What message would you give to a patient who is walking into your clinic for the first time and knows nothing about aesthetic medicine?
Dr Jey: I would ask them: What would be your main concern? What do you want? If, let’s say it is the scarring left behind from the acne, I will address that ONLY. Because you see if you are going to start off by promoting other services instead, they start to lose confidence in the doctor. Ethics is very important as well. Patients who come may also have a set budget and so you try and solve their specific problem and later on when they are happy, they themselves would enquire about more services. That’s how I approach my patients.
GetDoc: How would you advise patients to avoid unethical doctors?
Dr Jey: Honestly, it is very difficult. People always listen to friends and a lack of research and knowledge means it is easier to be cheated. Patients may go to beauticians or even unlicensed doctors. Make sure the doctor is registered and check if they have their LCP. It is always better to seek a second opinion. They are advised to pay consultation charges as it’s their money’s worth. If the patients do come back for treatment, we usually discount the consultation fees.
GetDoc: Have you seen cases going absolutely wrong or witnessed any unethical practices?
Dr Jey: Yes. I believe I have seen many beauty centres that charge very much higher, for procedures they should not be doing, when compared to the similar procedures most doctors do. I have also seen their procedures go terribly wrong. And these procedures have to be corrected by us doctors. In my opinion, anything invasive shouldn’t be done at a beauty centre at all.
GetDoc: What’s the biggest challenge so far you have faced in your career? What happens if there is a case that you can’t handle?
Dr Jey: I’ve got good colleagues, so if there are things I don’t do, like lip fillers, I’d refer. If they want a plastic surgeon, I would refer to someone near their area. It all depends on the location. We must be honest with patients. I have got no qualms referring to my colleagues. There is no harm in referring.
GetDoc: How different are you from your peers?
Dr Jey: I would say the relationship that I have with my patient is special. I treat my patients with love and care. I build friendships with them. Being an aesthetics doctor, there are many consultations. I am always available most of the time (not after 9pm coz I am usually in bed!) on the phone for quick queries. Confidence and trust in the doctors is absolutely the key.
GetDoc: What did you do differently? Why do they come back?
Dr Jey: I do everything myself and so I am very hands on. I don’t promise what I cannot do - I am very honest about that. I don’t try. I only do what I know I can get the results for. They come back because they get the results they want.
GetDoc: Well said Dr Jey. That was very insightful. Thank you very much for this interview.
To know more about Dr Jeyanthi Velupillay, kindly check here
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Qian's interest in healthcare industry came about after her father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. This experience has led her to become a strong believer in empowering individuals to take charge of their own health. View all articles by Qian.