January 29, 2016 218
GetDoc: Why did you choose to become a Chinese Medicine Practitioner?
Dr Yu: You can say I was very much interested to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine. I first graduated in business, and then I shifted lanes to medicine. Medicine is my second degree.
GetDoc: Why the big shift?
Dr Yu: I think I didnt have it in me to do business. In fact, I come from a family that has a business background, however I wouldnt have done justice to the business. After gaining my family’s support, I decided to spend few more years studying medicine.
GetDoc: What spurred your interest in medicine?
Dr Yu: I like to help people, and I always believe being able to help others is better than getting help from others.
GetDoc: How long have you been practicing medicine?
Dr Yu: We have been practicing in this field for 11 years. I did my Bachelor's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Jinan University. For further studies, I completed the Master of Internal Medicine at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. We setup the Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre in Plaza Damas 5 years ago after a friend’s recommendation. The cost of starting up a business is relatively low in Malaysia and this helps as it is our first business. We plan to start a second branch in Kota Kemuning later this year.
GetDoc: Do you think patients nowadays find it difficult to understand what Traditional Chinese Medicine is?
Dr Yu: My expatriate patients’ understanding towards acupuncture and herbal medicine is way beyond our expectations. Surprisingly, they know a lot about us and more than 50% of my patients are expatriates. They do quite a bit of research about Traditional Chinese Medicine. Some of them did that out of self-interest, some of them learned about it when they were in their home country.
GetDoc: Can you tell us how a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner usually treats a patient?
Dr Yu: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, although the patient will come in telling us what disease they think they are having, we will still do the diagnosis. What we practice is ‘observe (望), hear and smell (闻), ask about background (问) and touching (切).’
Observe – when the patient comes in, we will observe everything about him, mainly his face.
Hear and Smell – whether he has different body odour which may tell us about the disease he is carrying.
Ask about background– we will communicate with patient, we need to understand their signs and symptoms and also lifestyle.
Touching – pulse reading (把脉) which can tell us what disease he is having.
GetDoc: How do you deal with difficult patients?
Dr Yu: I am pretty straightforward in dealing with patients. I usually tell them straight away what is right and what is wrong with them (disease condition that is), if the information they got from the internet is incorrect, I will be very honest because I am responsible for treating their condition.
GetDoc: Do you have any message to tell your patients?
Dr Yu: We are different from most of the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in Klang Valley. We always do one-to-one consultations by appointment. We don’t prefer walk-ins, unless we have free time/space, which we normally don’t. For every patient, the consultation usually lasts around 50- 60 minutes, as we think it is important to give full attention to the patient at every consultation.
GetDoc: How would you want to differentiate yourself from your peers?
Dr Yu: We think it is of utmost importance to spend more time with our patients rather than finish as many as you can in a day. In other Traditional Chinese Medicine centre setting, you might see about 10 patients waiting for a doctor. I usually only consult 1 patient in 1 hour, while others may see 10 patients in an hour.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is different from Western Medicine. For example, Western medical doctor will prescribe cough syrup and antibiotics for coughing. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we have to first look at what type of coughing it is, whether the cough occurs at morning or at night; whether the patient has phlegm; if yes, what colour it is. The medicines that are prescribed is different for every case, and I would say there are endless possibilities of combination. That’s also why we can only have full attention to one person at each time.
That being said, Traditional Chinese Medicine is still based on traditional theory, however, we combine it with evidence-based science, to satisfy the individual’s needs.
GetDoc: So will you charge slightly higher as compared to others?
Dr Yu: Yes, it’s slightly higher. Our service is provided in an atmosphere of quality and professionalism. I would say so far our patients have been very comfortable with our charging and our way of treatment.
GetDoc: There are some fake Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in the market, how should patients avoid them?
Dr Yu: It’s very simple, just look at his graduation certification. There is a TCM association that helps Malaysians to assess and recognize qualified practitioners. We have to go through rigorous assessment process in order to get ourselves recognized and to practice in this country. To be honest, our qualification can let us to be called medical doctors in other countries, however not in this country, we can’t name ourselves doctors, we can probably call ourselves physicians. I still have to show my credentials at our shops. (pointing at the certificates) and the TCM association will assess every year.
GetDoc: What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced in your career so far?
Dr Yu: The patient is the biggest challenge. It is very easy to treat disease, but hard to treat people. I think the trust between people and communication is a big challenge. Some patients walk in and think we can reverse the disease, but they forget that we are not saviors, we are not God. For example, we will tell the cancer patient honestly that we can’t eliminate the disease completely with Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, we can play an auxiliary role in cancer treatment, such as helping patients to control pain, keep immune system strong, with the aim of making them feel comfortable.
Some patients only accept partial treatment, for example only take 1 portion of the medication instead of 2 portions which I may have asked him to.
GetDoc: How did you overcome these challenges?
Dr Yu: Communication is the key. My wife and I have met so many patients, the biggest consolation (欣慰) is to build relationships that are based on trust with our patients. A lot of patients have become my friends eventually. We have built a life here in Malaysia, we hope that patients can become our friends. We always go out and hang out together. Most of the time when we hang out, we hang out with patients. When we treat people sincerely, people will know. I try my best to treat every patient, that’s one thing I can promise, but I can’t promise I can cure everything because I’m not God, I won’t over promise.
GetDoc: What services do you offer at your centre?
Dr Yu: My specialty is internal medicine and medicine prescription whilst my wife’s specialty is acupuncture. Our clinic’s strength is that you get to see two doctors as both my wife and I work as a team. Both of us will consult patients. You will get service from two doctors. We often offer combination of both depending on the patients’ condition. Unless the diseases not suitable for acupuncture and prescription, we will refuse to treat the patient. It is meaningless if I over promise to the patient as I want long term business, I have to protect our reputation and also be ethical.
I also specialise in treating gout, urine acid, hypertension, high cholesterol.
GetDoc: Finally, how do you unwind yourself from stress at work?
Dr Yu: I play sports, mainly golf. A lot of my friends play golf together with us. Other than that, we also like to travel.
To know more about Dr Victor Yu, 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.