​In its mission to save patients’ lives, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) is continually raising the bar in providing holistic and compassionate care for women and children. Through the decades, dedicated teams of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals have led the way in pursuing life-changing care. Some of the breakthroughs include:

Women's health services at KKH.Women’s health

Optimising preconception health for women
The KKH Preconception Health Clinic was established to help women assess their health status before conceiving, and to prepare for a healthy pregnancy.

The clinic offers comprehensive tests to detect medical conditions that can potentially impact both mother and child.

KK Gynaecological Cancer Centre
Gynaecological cancers, such as endometrial, cervical and ovarian cancer, are among the top 10 most common cancers affecting women in Singapore today.

As one of the leading centres of care for women with gynaecological cancers, KKH’s Gynaecological Cancer Centre provides comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment for more than 700 patients who are newly diagnosed with gynaecological cancers each year.

Embracing minimally invasive solutions for women’s cancers
“With advancements in technology, we are able to perform minimally invasive surgery to benefit more women with gynaecological cancers, leading to improved recovery rates,” says Associate Professor Timothy Lim, Head, Department of Gynaecological Oncology, KKH.

“We now perform minimally invasive surgical interventions for 35 to 40 per cent of our patients with cervical and endometrial cancer, compared to less than 10 percent a decade ago,” he adds.

Since 2016, KKH has started offering minimally invasive sentinel lymph node biopsy using fluorescence guided imaging for patients with early stage endometrial cancer.

This reduces the risk of surgical morbidity, while enhancing patient safety. In 2015, a patient with early stage cervical cancer successfully conceived and delivered a healthy baby after undergoing a fertility-sparing radical abdominal trachelectomy in KKH.

Complex pregnancy

Complex pregnancy care at KKH.KKH provides care for about 12,000 women and their babies every year.

Round-the-clock care for urgent pregnancy-related complications
KKH’s Urgent Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre (O&G) provides round-the-clock urgent care for acute problems in early pregnancy such as abdominal pain and bleeding; as well as post-pregnancy conditions such as acute vaginal bleeding and severe pelvic or lower abdominal pain.

Complex surgery for the unborn child

In 2013, a multidisciplinary team successfully performed an ex-utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) procedure on a fetus detected to have a large tumour obstructing the airway.

To ensure the baby would not suffocate immediately after birth, the multi-stage surgery involved performing a complex caesarean section to partially deliver the baby, so as to allow continued oxygen supply from the umbilical cord until the baby’s airways could be kept open and protected. Only then was the baby delivered.

EXIT is just one of the many time-sensitive, multi-stage surgeries performed at KKH, requiring highly skilled medical professionals and intricate multidisciplinary coordination between specialist teams.

“To save this baby, the EXIT delivery took days of preparation with six teams of medical specialties working as one,” says team lead Professor George Yeo, emeritus consultant, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, KKH.

“Such a successful outcome for mother and baby is achieved through detailed planning, intensive preparation, and precise multidisciplinary collaboration. There can be no room for error in providing care for these special patients.”

In 2015, KKH established a Fetal Surgery Suite, equipped to treat life-threatening complications affecting the unborn child.

Intensive care services at KKH.Intensive care

Neonatal intensive care
Every year, nearly 2,000 babies require intensive care or special care at KKH’s Special Care Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The NICU is equipped with MRI-safe incubators and offers dedicated facilities to provide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) — an external mechanical support for the heart — for babies with reversible cardio-respiratory failure.

It is also self-sufficient, housing facilities to perform major surgeries and procedures on newborn babies, and a dedicated neonatal-surgical unit for babies recovering from surgeries.

The NICU also introduced in Singapore, therapies such as lung surfactant in neonates with respiratory distress syndrome, High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation (HFOV), Inhaled Nitric Oxide, ECMO and Whole Body Cooling, to improve outcomes for newborn babies.

Emergency transport for critically ill children
The Children’s Hospital Emergency Transport Service (CHETS) was started in 2004 to provide emergency transport to and from KKH, other local hospitals, and even overseas, for newborns and children with life-threatening health conditions.

This service is rendered by a team of doctors and nurses, who specialise in neonatal and paediatric intensive care, and are trained to transport critically ill children through all traffic conditions.

CHETS saved the life of Tan Sih-Fa, son of family physician Dr Tan Eng Chun, in 2014 when he started to have problems breathing within half an hour of his birth. A team arrived with a life-saving machine called the extra-corporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) to safely transport him to KKH.

High-risk pregnancy care at KKH.For Dr Tan, CHETS had been crucial to his son’s survival, as Sih-Fa’s heart had stopped the night he was brought to KKH. Being on ECMO prevented lasting damage to the boy’s brain.

Hope for women with high-risk pregnancies

Two months ago, 41-year-old Petsy Lim was overjoyed as she cuddled her newborn daughter, Wong Gao An. Her bundle of joy arrived after two failed pregnancies at other centres.

At the time, the doctors had suspected these could be due to a condition called cervical incompetence, but nothing was ever confirmed.

For her third pregnancy, Ms Lim took no chances, and sought out obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Shephali Tagore, head and senior consultant, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, KKH.

At about 14 weeks’ gestation, Ms Lim was admitted for an elective cervical cerclage to support her womb.

A cervical cerclage is a surgical procedure in which the cervix (neck of the womb) is stitched closed in order to prevent a miscarriage or premature birth.

Dr Tagore performed the procedure, and her team specialising in high-risk pregnancy monitored Ms Lim closely, together with nurses from Wards 72 and 82.

The cerclage provided Ms Lim much-needed support for her womb, and she later successfully gave birth to her first child, a healthy baby girl.