We talk to Singapore cardiologist DR LESLIE LAM about his career, his passion for philanthropy and his love of wine.
Matters of the heart
It’s clear that when Dr Leslie Lam is serious about something, he puts his heart into it. As an early pioneer of modern interventional cardiology in 1980s Singapore, he was an early proponent of several technologies that have become vital to cardiac practices today. Some of his many accolades include The Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Brunei for his services in that country, and an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland.
In 2020, Dr Lam put Singapore on the world cardiology map when he carried out the first implants of the AngelMed Guardian monitor, an FDA-approved cardiac monitoring device that warns patients of heart attack. Intended for use in high-risk patients, the device is placed under the skin below the clavicle and attached to the heart with a sensor lead, much like a pacemaker. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to continuously monitor the patient’s heart signals.
Dr Lam says the device is simple to implant, and can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life, as it reduces anxiety, and gives them confidence to be more active and enjoy life.
Most recently, the Singapore cardiologist received the ultimate accolade: his own Wikipedia page! “It came as a surprise to me when some of my friends pointed it out to me. I’m told that not many doctors in Singapore have had a Wikipedia page created about them, so I am flattered that someone went through all that effort!”
The Singapore cardiologist’s passion projects
So, what does Dr Lam enjoy in his own life? Philanthropy, for one.
Throughout his career, he has helped train hundreds of cardiologists around the world. And, to every single one of them he has offered the same words of wisdom: “We must remember to return something to society when we become successful.” This is an adage he has lived by during his career, regularly volunteering his services and leading medical teams to developing countries in Asia over the years.
However, the philanthropic project that he’s most proud of isn’t a medical one but, rather, a historical and literary one. In 2017, Dr Lam partnered with his former teacher and mentor Professor Eoin O’ Brien to donate the Lam-O’Brien collection – a treasure-trove of Irish literature and heritage – to his alma mater, University College Dublin. The collection includes many priceless original papers and items of Samuel Beckett – an Irish novelist, poet, playwright and literary translator.
Also close to his heart: wine
Apart from medicine and literature, Dr Leslie Lam’s other great passion is wine. It all started with drinking Black Tower and other budget brands as an undergraduate in Ireland, where he lived for 20 years. His palate and budget have improved considerably since then; these days, he’s far more knowledgeable and serious about his wines.
Not only is Dr Lam a member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, an exclusive bacchanalian fraternity of Burgundy wine connoisseurs, but he also serves as Commanderie de Bordeaux for Le Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux– an association of enthusiasts and professionals from the wine trade who come together to celebrate the wines of Bordeaux. He is also one of the leading collectors of wine in Singapore. In fact, his almost 10,000 bottle collection is housed in a temperature-controlled wine cellar that’s larger than many two-bedroom apartments! Some of his favourites include Romanee Conti 1999, Petrus 2000, Haut-Brion from 1989, and Chateau d’Yquem 2001.
Even as a connoisseur, Dr Lam believes that price is not what makes “good wine”.
“I have bottles ranging from $50 dollars to a hundred times that or more but I enjoy them all,” he says. “Taste is a very personal thing. So, experiment, try lots of different wines and trust your own taste buds. If you enjoy something, it’s a good wine. Don’t worry what online reviews or other people say.”
So, as a cardiologist, how much wine does this doctor prescribe? “Everyone needs some pleasure in their lives. As long as it is drunk in moderation, red wines offer health benefits such polyphenols and antioxidants.”
To learn more about Dr Lam’s career, check out his Wiki page at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ leslie_lam_(doctor).
The Cardiac Centre
#03-17 Farrer Park Medical Centre,
1 Farrer Park Station
6732 1881 | leslielam.com.sg
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