Dr Lynne Lim gives insight into the person behind the scrubs.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Dr Lynne Lim gives insight into the person behind the scrubs.

My Reading Room

Few people know what their purpose in life is right off the bat. Dr Lynne Lim is no exception. The ENT specialist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre had always been fond of buildings and design, so she considered a career in architecture. However, she chose to follow her mother’s suggestion to study medicine and was glad she did. “I found it very engaging, especially once I saw how text knowledge could help patients clinically,” she enthuses. While she initially thought of branching into criminal psychiatry, she eventually realised her calling was in surgery. 

But why the fascination with ENT? “It has the right mix of outpatient clinics, procedural activities and surgery – from open to micro- and endoscopic – to keep things interesting. The anatomy of the ear, nose and throat is beautifully interconnected in this very tiny and complex space,” she explains. “I also wanted the challenge, as there was only one female surgeon before me in this field, and she was 10 years older than I was.” 

No matter the size of the parts she’s treating, the pressure on a surgeon is indubitably large. “Surgery is all-consuming and demands split-second decisions. We must be fully in the zone,” she agrees. Thankfully, Dr Lim has no trouble getting into the right headspace. “I remember doing 20 versions of a still-life water-colour of a brinjal over 12 hours in primary school, much to my mother’s exasperation,” she recalls. “The more stressful things become, the calmer and more focused I tend to get.” 

Outside of the operating room, Dr Lim’s calm and focus homes in on the magic of the human spirit and the grace of God’s hand. “I stand in awe daily of the precision of the human body. Being a doctor has made me at once optimistic and inspired, but also acutely aware of the fragility of life. I am happy just making things a little better before moving on.” 

Her approach to treating patients is simple: Do for every patient what she would do for herself. Still, she hopes that more people will understand that there are ailments that can be prevented. 

“Many people never suspect that their daily environment is aggravating their runny or blocked nose, eczema or asthma. A simple skin prick test at a clinic can identify the offending allergens,” she advises. 

But for everything else, Dr Lim will be ready to help. “It is such a privilege to be someone’s doctor,” she says. “Medicine is, surely, the purest form of artistry, science and heart.” 

Dr Lim heads the Lynne Lim Ear Nose Throat & Hearing Centre (Child & Adult), #17-07 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre (Orchard), 3 Mount Elizabeth. Tel: 6737-7787, www.drlynnelim.com 

“The more stressful things become, the calmer and more focused I tend to get.”