Raffles Hospital


Raffles Hospital, officially opened on 16 March 2002, is the second largest private general hospital in Singapore. Equipped with the latest in medical technology and offering 23 clinical specialities, the hospital has made news for some of its pioneering surgeries on Siamese twins.

On 12 September 1997, two companies, Raffles Medical Group (RMG), a health-care provider, 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. As one of the biggest medical group in Singapore, RMG had been running a chain of more than 35 clinics, and its health care project, the Raffles SurgiCentre, had been operating from leased premises since it was established in 1993 . Serving half a million patients by then, the practice needed to expand into a full-fledged hospital.

Pidemco-Raffles Properties purchased Blanco Court, situated at the junction of Ophir Road and North Bridge Road and near the Bugis MRT, for S$200 million project. S$110 million went into the purchase of Blanco Court while S$90 million was poured into refurbishing the building, a former office and shopping block. In order to raise money for the hospital , Raffles Medical Group (RMG), a Sesdaq-listed company, gave out 24.5 million new shares at 49 cents each in 1998. Named Raffles Hospital, it started taking in patients from 31 March 2001 onwards. It was officially opened by DPM Lee Hsien Loong on 16 March 2002. The hospital is jointly owned by Raffles Medical Group (RMG) and Pidemco Land.

Description and facilities
Sato Kogyo, a Japanese construction firm, was awarded the main contract to build Raffles Hospital. The hospital is a L-shaped building covering 540,000 sq ft of floor space over 13 floors. It is a retrofitted building that has retained the main superstructure of its predecessor, Blanco Court. Four floors, from the third to the sixth, are used as car parks. The lobby features huge granite columns and a cascading water feature. The central courtyard, on the eighth floor, has a pond and a bamboo and palm grove. The whole building is in fact designed around this central courtyard. The corridors are all 2.2 m wide and look into the courtyard. This allows light to flood into the rooms. The hospital also houses a meditation room and is adorned with many art pieces. The bedrooms are fitted with a sofa bed and a writing desk. The bedrooms walls, designed to provide soothing comfort, are lined with laminates in honey tones of maple. The headrests in the rooms double as a place to store drips and tubes when not in use, making these hospital bedrooms look more hotel-like. The toilets are uniquely designed with a ramp at the toilet entrance instead of a step, making it handicap-friendly. Accommodation offered at the hospital includes suites, private rooms, double rooms and a cost saving four bedroom facility. The hospital is equipped with 380 beds, a 24 hour walk-in clinic catering to emergency cases, a specialist centre and 12 operating theatres.

Some of the hospital's landmark surgeries include the separation of Siamese twins. In July 2003, the hospital was in global news for its heroic attempt to separate two adult conjoined Iranian twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani. The twins unfortunately died on 8 July 2003 due to profuse blood loss. The surgery was led by
 Dr. Keith Goh, then a consultant neurosurgeon at Raffles Hospital. He had successfully separated Nepalese twins, babies Ganga and Jamuna, also conjoined at the head like Ladan and Laleh Bijani, in April 2001 at the Singapore General Hospital. In July 2003, Raffles Hospital won recognition for the successful separation of two South Korean twins, Min Ji Hye and Min Sa Rang, who were born joined at the lower back.

12 Sep 1997
: Blanco Court acquired by Pidemco-Raffles Properties.
31 Mar 2001 : Hospital begins taking in patients.
16 Mar 2002 : Hospital is officially opened.
6-8 Jul 2003 : High-risk landmark surgery to separate Siamese twins, Laden and Laleh Bijani, conjoined at the brain failed.
22 Jul 2003 : Successful landmark surgery to separate Korean Siamese twins, Min Ji Hye and Min Sa Rang, conjoined at the lower spine.

Raffles Hospital
585 North Bridge Road
Singapore 188770

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

Chee, J. P. (1998, October 17). Raffles places out 24.5 m new shares. The Straits Times, p. 82.

Koh, B. P. (1997, September 18).
Goodbye to good buys at Blanco Court. The Straits Times, p. 47.

Lee, H. C. (2003, August 19).
Korean twins discharged. The Straits Times, Singapore. 

Loh, S. (2003, September 30).
Bijani twins' chance of survival: 1 in 6. The Straits Times.

Nathan, D. (2003, July 9).
In the end, it was not to be. The Straits Times, Prime News.

RMG hospital ready for patients
. (2001, February 28). The Straits Times, p. 21.

RMG plans placement issue. (1997, October 16).
The Straits Times, p. 57.

Sim, A. (2001, April 7).
Recover Inn Style. The Straits Times, Life!, pp. 1-6.

Twins' separate lives off to good start
. (2003, July 30). The Straits Times, Prime News.

Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13).
RMG, Pidemco pair up for $ 200m project. The Straits Times, p. 67.

Raffles Medical Group. (2003).
Raffles Hospital. Retrieved October 6, 2003, from www.raffleshospital.com 

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.

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

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2004.