30 years of health and wellbeing
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS : Johor's first private hospital tracks its journey that began in a two-storey wooden hut in Jalan Abdul Samad.- NEWS STRAITS TIME, THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 2012-
More than 30 years ago, a team of medical consultants assembled by Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin started to meet regularly at his clinic in Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, Johor Bahru, to plan a hospital to give Johor folk quality medical care.
Aware that locals often sought treatment abroad, they wanted to provide specialists services in a quality healthcare establishment while giving the nation's brightest medical professionals the opportunity to practise here.
Their foresight and commitment to create a well-equipped and professionally managed specialists hospital started Johor Specialist Hospital (JSH), Johor's first private hospital , and went on to establish one of he nation's leading healthcare groups KPJ Healthcare Berhad (KPJ).
The man behind JSH is Dr Lim, who had long cherished a dream to build his own hospital.
After his retirement as consultant physician with the Johor Bahru General Hospital (now Sultanah Aminah Hospital) in 1977, he started the wheels to create a premier private hospital rolling. His ideas were supported by Tan Sri Basir Ismail, then executive director of the Johor State Economic Development Corporation, now known as Johor Corporation.
With the corporation as the majority partner in the venture, construction of the hospital started in 1980 and on May 10, 1981, JSH started treating outpatients.
" Our staff are sentimental about JSH and Dr Lim because he was truly an old-school doctor who had the health and wellbeing of patients at heart," said JSH executive director and chief executive officer Norita Ahmad, as she reflected on the hospitals's history and journey as it turns 30 this month.
Dr Lim may have retired as JSH's Medical director and consultant in internal medicine, but his legacy lives on, particularly in the pioneer team of doctors and staff who share his passion and dedication in giving hope and comfort to the sick and saving lives.
Many were recruited while the building was under construction, and were thus involved with the design, planning and setting up of the various departments.
Looking at the impressive network of modern buildings of JSH today, it is hard to imagine that the pioneer personnel started working a simple two-storey wooden hut in the 2.02ha site in Jalan Abdul Samad.
"I remember rolling cotton and gauze in that wooden building," said assistant nurse, Hasnah Mat,53, who joined the staff in 1981. She has worked in various departments including the operating theatre (OT) and is now attached to the cath lab.
She recalls being on call as OT staff and how she was rushed to assist the surgeons by the driver, Raju Muniandy, for emergency surgeries.
She also recalled fondly the pre-opening days helping to assemble beds and bedside tables and the daunting task of shifting them upstairs into the inpatients' wards.
Raju, 56, joined the staff in May 1981 as an ambulance driver who doubled up as a staff driver in three rotating shifts along with another driver.
In the past five years, as administrative driver, he has been responsible for the transport needs of senior executives.
"I like to work here," said Raju, who is on contract employment after he reached retirement age last year.
" And I want to go on for the next five to 10 years if they still want me ," he added.
In July 1981, Chua Bing Hua, 54, the senior chief cook, joined the kitchen team as a cook and began catering for out-patients and staff in the cafeteria.
About three months later, when JSH accepted in-patients, she started catering for 60 beds but now, very often it is six meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, morning and afternoon tea- for up to 230 beds daily.
" Patients often ask me for my fish porridge recipe," said Chua modestly.
" Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim, then group CEO of Johor Corp, and Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir, are true visionaries who led JSH through tremendous changes and growth to turn it into one of the leading hospitals in the southern region,' said Dr V.K Ravindran, consultant otolaryngologist and ear-nose-throat surgeon.
He is one of the eight original medical consultants with Dr Lim since the pre-opening years.
As chief executive of KPJ Sdn Bhd, the healthcare division of Johor Corp, Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah was largely responsible for the expansion of the group, which now owns and operates more than 20 private hospitals in West and East Malaysia, and two in Indonesia.
The group gives back to society in its various corporate social responsibility efforts, one of which is through its network of Klinik Wakaf An - Nur ( KWAN) and dialysis clinics that provide quality healthcare to Malaysian patients whose income is below RM800 a month. Patients are charged a nominal fee of RM5 for treatment and medication, and the fees are used to pay the operational and medical costs of these clinics that are run by experienced doctors and nurses.
In 2006, KWAN Pasir Gudang was upgraded into a 30 bed Hospital Wakaf An Nur to meet patient needs.
Its tagline ," Care For Life," is a reflection of the group's commitment to provide a full range of medical services backed-up by the guarantee of quality that comes with the KPJ brand.
The needy are identified and practical support given through the JSH Consultants Charity Fund.
In response to a New Straits Time article ( Oct 20,2011), consultants radiologist and fund chairman Dr Ong Ah How presented a donation to Muhamad Syukur Othman and distributed food hampers and cash to four hardcore poor families in Taman Cendana, Pasir Gudang, early this year.
In 1996, JSH' s intensive care unit and pharmacy departments was awarded the MS ISO 9002 Certificate by SIRIM. The hospital attained full certification in 1999.
That same year, the first oncology centre in Johor was set up in JSH to provide chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.
KPJ has certainly come a long way since the opening of JSH in 1981, the flagship of this expanding healthcare group, and is poised to maintain its leadership position as a premier private hospital in the region.
In response to NST article published on Oct 20, 2011, the JSH Consultants Charity Fund makes a donation to Muhamad Syukur Othman (left).
A plague in honour of Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin is unveiled in 2001
Dr Ong Ah How (left) and Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya (standing) present gifts to Zainon from a hardcore poor family.
The way we were - JSH in 1984
Raju Muniandy will work for the hospitals as long as it will have him
Hasnah Mat remembers rolling cotton and gauze in the old wooden building
Chua Bing Hua sees to the six meals for each of the 230 beds daily.
Norita Ahmad reflects on the hospital's history and journey as it turns 30 this month.
"Our staff are sentimental about JSH and Dr Lim because he was truly an old-school doctor who had the health and well-being of patients at heart." Norita Ahmad, JSH Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer