The unsung heroes of TTSH
They have a big responsibility to ensure patients' safety
A patient at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) ripped out his tracheostomy tube while he was being transferred for a procedure. The tube assisted with his breathing.
Specialised Transfer and Acuity Response (Star) team coordinator Abdul Rahman Tunek sprang into action to help the patient, who was restless and confused.
He calmed the patient, covered up the hole in the man's throat and brought an oxygen mask to help him breathe until doctors could replace the tube.
The patient was being transferred from his ward to the Diagnostic Radiology departmentwhen it happened.
The Star team, who are some of the unsung heroes of TTSH, work tirelessly to ensure things run smoothly during transfers.
They handle all in-hospital transfers, transporting 248 patients every day for appointments both within the hospital and to other hospitals. But the team is also game about creating tools to help their colleagues learn.
On Aug 11, three members of the Star team will take part in a health-game creation competition organised by the National Healthcare Group (NHG) and Serious Games Association (SGA).
The Star team members have designed and submitted a game at the 1st NHG-SGA Game Jam 2015 to teach healthcare staff more about diabetes.
Since the 40 team members transport patients by themselves, they need to be ready to deal with any emergencies on their own.
Although the Star team transfers only stable patients, there is always the chance of something unexpected happening, like a patient collapsing.
Late last year, Madam Farhanna Mohammed Tayib, 32, took a patient from TTSH to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a check-up.
The patient could walk and refused to sit in a wheelchair, which was the protocol.
Madam Farhanna, a Star team member for eight years, said: "He was acting up at the clinic because he was angry he had to wait almost two hours.
"He was pacing and scolding the admin clerk at IMH. He was also trying to go into the doctor's room even though it wasn't his turn."
Madam Farhanna added that the wait time for patients depends on the hospital or clinic and can vary depending on the treatment.
The patient said he wanted to smoke, which was not allowed. He then stormed out of the clinic.
With the help of an IMH security guard, Madam Farhanna was able to calm the patient down and take him safely back to TTSH.
She said: "This case was very challenging. The responsibility for us is very heavy, because we want to ensure the patient's safety."
Madam Farhanna added: "The main challenge is that we must take care of the situation single-handedly. We need to make our own decisions and react fast.
"At Star team, we work like a family and I am happy with a job where I can provide assistance to patients. I am glad that I can help them."
EXPERTS IN DIRECT PATIENT CARE
What makes the Star team members special is that they are also experts in direct patient care at TTSH.
Direct patient care includes the insertion of IV plugs, drawing blood, and monitoring patients under moderate sedation.
By providing direct patient care, the team is able to save doctors five hours a day.