Raffles Hospital



Jointly owned by Raffles Medical Group and Pidemco Land,1 Raffles Hospital was officially opened on 16 March 2002 as the second largest private general hospital in Singapore. The hospital has made news for some of its pioneering surgeries on Siamese twins.

History
On 12 September 1997, healthcare provider Raffles Medical Group and Pidemco Land, a government-linked enterprise, formed a joint-venture company, Pidemco-Raffles Properties, to convert Blanco Court into the second-largest private general hospital in Singapore.2


Blanco Court was an office-and-shopping block situated near the Bugis Mass Rapid Transit Station. The project cost S$200 million, of which S$110 million was used to acquire Blanco Court and S$90 million to refurbish the building.3 To raise money for the project, SESDAQ-listed Raffles Medical Group issued 24.5 million new shares at S$0.49 each in 1998.4

Raffles Hospital started taking in patients from 31 March 2001.5 It was officially opened on 16 March 2002 by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.6

Description and facilities
The hospital comprises 540,000 sq ft of floor space over 13 floors. A retrofitted building, it has retained the main superstructure of its predecessor, Blanco Court.7


The lobby features huge granite columns and a cascading water feature. The entire building is designed around the central courtyard on the eighth floor, which has a pond, as well as a bamboo and palm grove. The corridors, all 2.2 metres wide, look into the courtyard, which allows light to flood into the rooms. The hospital also houses a meditation room and is adorned with many art pieces. The car park comprises the building’s third to sixth floors.8

Each bedroom is fitted with a sofa bed and writing desk. Designed to provide soothing comfort, the bedroom walls are lined with laminate in honey tones of maple. The headrests in the rooms double as places to store drips and tubes when not in use, thus making the rooms look more hotel-like. In addition, the toilets are handicap-friendly with a ramp at the entrance instead of a step.9

The hospital offers 24-hour emergency services, family medicine and health screening services, as well as a wide range of multi-disciplinary specialist clinics.10

Milestones
One of Raffles Hospital’s landmark surgeries is the separation of adult Siamese twins. In July 2003, the hospital appeared in the news worldwide for its attempt to separate two conjoined adult Iranian twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani. The twins, however, died on 8 July 2003 due to profuse blood loss. The surgery was led by Dr Keith Goh, then a consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital.11 Goh had successfully separated Nepalese twin babies conjoined at the head, Ganga and Jamuna, in April 2001 at the Singapore General Hospital.12


In July 2003, Raffles Hospital won recognition for the successful separation of South Korean twins, Min Ji Hye and Min Sa Rang, who were born joined at the lower back.13

Timeline
12 Sep 1997
: Joint venture company, Pidemco-Raffles Properties, signs an agreement to jointly acquire Blanco Court.14 

31 Mar 2001: Raffles Hospital begins taking in patients.
16 Mar 2002: Raffles Hospital is officially opened.
68 Jul 2003: High-risk landmark surgery to separate Siamese twins conjoined at the brain, Laden and Laleh Bijani, is unsuccessful.15
22 Jul 2003: Successful landmark surgery to separate Korean twins conjoined at the lower spine, Min Ji Hye and Min Sa Rang.16



Author
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1.
Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m project. The Straits Times, p. 67. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m project. The Straits Times, p. 67. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m project. The Straits Times, p. 67; Koh, B. P. (1997, September 18). Goodbye to good buys at Blanco Court. The Straits Times, p. 47. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Chee, J. P. (1998, October 17). Raffles places out 24.5m new shares. The Straits Times, p. 82. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn style. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Long, S. (2002, March 17). Health-care cost must remain affordable to S’poreans. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn style. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn style. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn style. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Raffles Medical Group. (2017). About Raffles Hospital. Retrieved 2017, May 31 from Raffles Medical Group website: https://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/hospital/about-raffles-hospital/about-us
11. Nathan, D. (2003, July 9). In the end, it was not to be. The Straits Times, p. 1; Loh, S. (2003, September 30). Bijani twins’ chance of survival: 1 in 6. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Nepalese twins awake, but Ganga still sleepy. (2001, April 18). Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewpaperSG.
13. Lee, H. C. (2003, August 19). Korean twins dischargedThe Straits Times, p. 2; Twins’ separate lives off to good start. (2003, July 30). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m project. The Straits Times, p. 67. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Nathan, D. (2003, July 9). In the end, it was not to beThe Straits Times, p. 1; Loh, S. (2003, September 30). Bijani twins’ chance of survival: 1 in 6The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Lee, H. C. (2003, August 19). Korean twins dischargedThe Straits Times, p. 2; Twins’ separate lives off to good start. (2003, July 30). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2004 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Public health
Health and medicine>>Health services
Hospitals, Proprietary--Singapore
Hospitals--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Public Buildings
Singapore--History--1990-
Public buildings
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Politics and Government>>Health