Runs in the Blood - Father and Son Urologists at Premier Jatinegara Hospital – a Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare: dr. Arnold Muara Simanjuntak, Sp.U and dr. Dan‪iel Timbul Mauliate Simanjuntak, Sp.U

Story By
Sri Utami

Sharing the ups and downs of becoming a specialist Urologist, dr. Arnold and dr. Daniel are father and son of the Simanjuntak family. Arnold has a master’s degree from the University of Indonesia Jakarta, while Daniel has a master’s degree from University of Padjadjaran Bandung. Both doctors are currently active in the Urology service excellence center of Premier Jatinegara Hospital, a part of the Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare family.

Urology is a branch of medicine which studies abnormalities in the urinary and genital tract in men and women's urinary tracts. The most common cases in Indonesia are urinary tract stones, along with prostate and urinary tract infections. The center handles urinary and genital abnormalities including preventive or medical treatment, plus non surgery and non-invasive to highly invasive surgeries. Throughout their professional experience, they have treated patients with a variety of disorders. Highlighting the importance of awareness in one’s health condition, in one case for doctor Arnold, he found a kidney stone as big as a meatball, whereas doctor Daniel once operated on a patient with a kidney stone as big as baby's head.

This is even more important in the midst of the COVID pandemic, especially in the case of urology, because it can often take years to discover the full condition and early detection is important to prevent any surgical necessity. Doctor Arnold points out, "The government’s BPJS program, the Social Health Insurance program for Indonesian people, is very helpful in opening up access for those who need medical assistance or surgery. We need to consistently increase awareness through campaigns on how to live a healthy life, regular exercise, and the importance of regular medical check-ups, which help to prevent severe illnesses. Prevention is better than the cure."

Doctor Daniel was keen to add, "To increase awareness in the public is rather a challenge, because Indonesian people tend to believe more in herbal medicine and treatments rather than seeing professional doctors about their health problems. It's still hard to break through!"

Since his childhood, doctor Daniel has familiarized himself with his father’s occupation and was attracted to the idea of knife-free technology. This is especially true with current, more advanced solutions such as SWL (Shockwave Lithotripsy) which pulverizes stones in the kidney and urethra into small fragments. These high-energy shockwaves that are produced outside the body by a lithotripter and viewed via an endoscopy - a long thin tube with a small camera inside. Using microscopic equipment is just one of the reasons that encouraged dr. Daniel to become a urologist. Professionally, and for the sake of patient healthcare, both father and son are aware of the challenges to consistently keep up with technology that includes robotic surgery, kidney transplantation, and reconstruction surgery to name just a few.

As a father of five, Doctor Arnold allowed his children to choose their own career paths. Two of the children chose to follow him into the medical profession, which saw Daniel become a urologist and his sister a dentist. Coincidentally, Daniel's father in law and brother in law are also Professors of Urology in Bandung. “It seems I’m surrounded by urologists,” Daniel added.

He closed the interview with a quote, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Our good deeds count, motivating us to save lives.”