Palliative care pioneer Prof Cynthia Goh dies of pancreatic cancer
Well-known palliative care pioneer Professor Cynthia Goh died of pancreatic cancer on Sunday (Feb 13) night at age 72.
She was one of the trailblazers in setting up hospice care and introducing palliative care in Singapore, changing mindsets and helping the dying live out their days as comfortably and with as much dignity as possible.
She started out as a volunteer at St Joseph's Home in 1986.
She helped to set up palliative care services at the Singapore General Hospital and National Cancer Centre Singapore in 1999, and was founding president of HCA Hospice Care, the country's largest home hospice care provider.
In an interview with The Straits Times in 2019, Prof Goh said she recognised a need to improve the quality of life for the terminally ill, and set up hospices and palliative care in Singapore, despite being told that there was no need for such services in the 1980s.
Throughout her career, she also held various professional appointments and committee memberships in medical committees, such as chairing the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) since 2009 and moving to the advisory chair position last year.
Speaking to ST on Monday (Feb 14), Dr Goh's husband, Dr Goh Hak-Su, said he will miss his partner.
The 73-year-old said: "I will miss everything about her, we have known each other for more than 50 years... I will miss the companionship. We are able to talk to each other. We understand each other."
Mr Giam Cheong Leong, executive director of APHN, said: "Dr Goh will be dearly missed but her light shall continue to shine and the APHN will hold her torch and pass it on to continue our mission of ensuring equity in access to hospice and palliative care in the region.
"She is a woman of strength, leader with heart and a legend in palliative care."