When you ask Dr. James Liew why he does what he does – why he chose to be a rehabilitation doctor – the answer is illuminating.
“It is very rewarding to see a person do something they once thought they would never be able to do.”
Born in Malaysia, schooled in Singapore and trained in Melbourne, Dr. Liew is BRHS’ new Consultant Physician in Rehabilitation Medicine, and the latest young doctor to bring a world of new perspectives, skills and experiences to East Gippsland.
Dr. Liew is sparse with his words, but thoughtful. There is no wasted chatter here; it is evident he has considered and weighed fully the things he tells you – about his work, his philosophy, what brought him to medicine, and what bought him to Bairnsdale.
“I could see an opportunity to do more,” he says simply, appreciative of the wide variety of patients and clinical challenges he would meet in a regional health service.
“One of the things that attracted me to this work in the first place was how broad it was,” he said. “All kinds of people may need rehabilitation help, for many different reasons.”
Dr. Liew describes working with young people recovering from car accidents, elderly people recovering from strokes, and the many other patients he has treated over the years to help restore the vital functions that make our lives possible and pleasurable.
“For some people that might be mobility, to get around, but for others it could be the ability to cook a meal, or live independently at home, or return to work,” he said.
Whatever the goal, Dr. Liew is guided by a couple of key philosophies about rehabilitation that inform his approach and offer a glimpse into his vision for rehabilitation services at BRHS.
“I believe early in-reach rehabilitation is very important,” he said. “The earlier we can get patients up and going, the better the outcomes.”
Beyond the ward, Dr. Liew believes we can be even more proactive in treatment by reaching certain populations before they have an acute episode, and he is eager to explore expanding our community-based programs to provide multidisciplinary rehabilitation interventions.
“Often, by the time a person is brought into the Emergency Dept., we’ve already waited too long,” he says.
Dr. Liew hopes to find new ways to reach people as early as possible, to prevent deconditioning, a goal that has special importance for the ageing population of East Gippsland.
“We cannot escape ageing, but I believe we can manage ageing better,” he said.
Dr. Liew will conduct a weekly outpatient clinic from the BRHS Consulting Rooms.
Call our Consulting Rooms on (03) 5150 3478 for more information.