The following is an extract of an interview by Brand Alliance Group with Dr Ting Choon Meng to document his story and HealthSTATS International, in the publication "Influential Brands – A Documentary of Their Heroic Rise". His story was chosen to be featured by the publication as he was one of the champions of trademark and innovation in Asia.
We thank Brand Alliance Group for approaching us and allowing us to use this exclusive content, to give a better understanding of Dr Ting and his work.
Ting Choon Meng developed his passion for being an innovative doctor at just 11 years old, believing in possibilities instead of impossibilities in the case of his ill grandfather who suffered from cirrhosis of the liver, contributed by having worked in the opium trade among coolies in Singapore in the early days.
He was frustrated that there wasn’t anything to ease his grandfather’s pain but to watch
and wait. He decided then that he had to be a doctor.
Like many of the baby boomer generation in Singapore, Dr Ting came from a relatively large family of six siblings – four boys and two girls. His father, a seaman, was normally away from home. His seamstress mother had her hands full. The young Choon Meng, the second-born son, had little choice but to help out.
By age 11, he took on the role of home making, guardian, disciplinarian and tutor to his younger siblings. “I had to grow up very fast,” he recalls.
His schooling took him through Pearl's Hill Primary, Gan Eng Seng Secondary and National Junior College. Young Choon Meng qualified for the University of Singapore medical school despite losing his right index finger during a National Service bayonet training drill.
In order to heal, he was held back a year and, at age 18, spent time as a National Service aftercare drug parole officer, working with 40 drug addicts and getting a real-life education in addiction and personal hardship.
“That’s what changed my life,” he said. “I had to look after 40 drug addicts, visit them in their homes and
counsel them. I saw a part of real life.”
That gave him further impetus on pursuing his passion as a doctor, to save and nurture lives. Despite the setbacks on being held back from his injury, he was determined to get back into medical school. With his hard work in rehabilitation,
Choon Meng could write and use his hands a year later through hard work – he re-learned to write by copying the bible with his left hand and got accepted into medical school, one year later than his original classmates, but with a wealth of real-life experiences.
In 1987, Choon Meng, now Dr Ting, is a general practitioner with four thriving practices. Through his working experience as a general practitioner, Dr Ting realised that there was a need for preventive monitoring, especially with patients who showed no signs of elevated blood pressure one day and then suffering a heart attack or stroke soon after.
“It dawned on me that every doctor made a lot of fatal assumptions. When I saw a patient for hypertension and his blood pressure was low, I was very happy and I smiled, and then he smiled. I realised it’s a fatal assumption. I assumed he was good, and I assumed he will be good for the next three months. A few days later I looked in the obituaries and he’s gone. We never knew how the blood pressure fluctuates.”
Dr Ting went on to pioneer a novel way of measuring central aortic pressure, the blood pressure near the heart, over 24 hours and using a non-invasive technique of recording waveforms from the arteries via a wrist sensor. He also set up Mobilestats Technologies Pte Ltd, the company which is facing a potential close down following a legal tussle with the Ministry of Defence over patent rights.