#BehindTheScope Interview with Dr Aneez

1. Why did you decide to become a doctor?

I grew up in a family with four generations of engineers and just wanted to do something different. I’ve also always been interested in technology, so I became fascinated with combining technology and medicine.

2. Why did you choose your speciality?

Cardiothoracic is unique in the sense that it is very unforgiving to the doctor as the margin for error is very small. It’s very similar to the speciality of the airline industry, where everything is well-drilled and must be done in a certain manner of precision. A successful outcome means a very rewarding journey to the patients.

3. What do you look forward to every day before heading out to your clinic?

My morning yoga session. I need my 40 minutes of peace every morning when I also strategise my whole day - surgery, patient visits, etc.

4. What is one common misconception the general public has about your speciality? What’s the one thing you wish the public would realise about it?

Patients can be overconfident about what we can do.

We need people to do their part to maintain a healthy lifestyle and go for regular screenings so that problems can be identified and addressed at an early stage.

5. Why did you decide to set up a private medical centre as compared to other healthcare settings?

I’ve worked in a restructured hospital setting for more than 20 years. I’ve been a student, a teacher and a mentor; and I felt that I have achieved my possible goals.

By stepping out to private, I wish that I can pursue my other dreams - working with robotic companies and AI companies to help these technologies penetrate into healthcare and ultimately provide a higher quality of healthcare.

6. What is the most memorable moment in your career?

It was when I successfully completed the first robotic surgery on my own.

The patient was a young girl with a tumour in her chest. Because she’s young, we did not want to do big cuts that would cause huge scars. With robotics, we’re able to do it via keyhole surgery (small cuts), and she managed to go home two days later.

7. What piece of healthcare advice would you give to Singaporeans?

Keep up with your vaccinations, exercise at least twice a week and get good screening advice. In addition, get good insurance coverage - know what you’re buying and read between the lines.

8. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Travel! I’m quite a medieval travel buff. I also enjoy playing badminton once a week.

Dr Aneez D.B Ahmed is the Medical Director & Senior Consultant Thoracic Surgeon at International Centre for Thoracic Surgery in Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Mount Alvernia Hospital, Singapore. He has been a practitioner in the field of thoracic surgery for more than 15 years, with a special interest in thoracic oncology.

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