The sight of unwell children was not foreign to Tan Tock Seng Hospital afterall. Did you know that we used to house many of them before our Paediatric Department was transferred over to KK Women's and Children's Hospital in 1997?
Sr Letchimi Ramasamy, Unit Nursing Manager, who worked at the Paeadiatrics ward for about 17 years could still recall many of her "kids" very well.
"His name is Kelvin*. He had to stay in my ward for quite a while because he suffered from leukaemia.
The nurses became his close friends. That morning when he was about to pass on, he kept wanting to see me but I wasn't on duty. Till today, I still regretted that I was not there in his last moment."
TTSH's Paeadiatrics Department started in 1975 and was headed by Dr Cheng Heng Kock, currently an Emeritus Consultant at KKH. The Paediatric wards were located at 2 blocks (41and 51), where our current Communicable Disease Centre 2 is.
"Each ward was a 40-bedded open ward ," recalled Sr Letchimi.
With only 1 staff nurse and 1 assistant nurse on duty every shift, it was definitely not easy to look after 40 children from a few days old to 12 year- olds with various health conditions!
Another vivid memory that Sr Letchimi recalled was being a feed nurse. Every nurse in paeds ward would take turn to do this duty. Inside the "Feed Room", the nurses were required to prepare milk of different strength (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full) before dishing the glass bottles out to the children.
In late 1980s, the Ministry of Health (MOH) explored the concept of a Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore to curb the lack of child-friendly environment in a General Hospital.
That was the reason why the Paediatric wings of SGH, TTSH and AH were actually merged to one department at KKH in 1997.
* Name of the patient has been changed to protect his privacy