Dr. Tay Chong Hai

Internal Medicine

Credentials MBBS (Malaya, Singapore) 1959
MRCP (Int Med) (Glasg) 1963
FAMS (Int Med) 1967
FRCP (Int Med) (Glasg) 1972
FRACP (Int Med) 1982
Language English, Mandarin Chinese

He obtained his M.B.B.S. at the University of Malaya in Singapore and proceeded to England for further studies. He was appointed consultant physician to the Singapore General Hospital in 1971 and subsequently headed the Department of Medicine at Changi Hospital. Since 1978, he has been in private practice as a consultant physician and rheumatologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital, Mount Alvernia Hospital and East Shore Hospital in Singapore. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Glasgow and also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He founded the Society of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology and, to date, has authored over 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

In 1969, this rare personage discovered a rare syndrome associated with intellectual impairment, decreased fertility with short stature, ichthyosis and brittle hair which is now documented worldwide as Tay’s Syndrome (also as IBIDS Syndrome or Trichothiodystrophy). Early in 1972, he sounded an alert on the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in East Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. In the nineties, Dr Tay uncovered another rarity – a condition described by him as Eosinophilic Arthritis affecting mainly the knees, ankles and shoulders with eosinophilia being the only extra-articular manifestation.

A pioneer in rheumatology in Singapore, he was the founder chairman of the Singapore National Arthritis Foundation in 1984. Dr Tay has investigated traditional Chinese medicine and highlighted the problems of high levels of arsenic, lead and mercury that are sometimes present in herbal medicine. He also drew attention to the problem of adulteration of Chinese medicines with Western medicines and warned against the misuse of cortisone. Dr Tay was conferred the Life Fellowship of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1998.

Besides his passion for medicine, Tay Chong Hai still dares to dream and, in 1977, published a collection of his poems, The Birth of a New Day.


Dr. Chong Hai Tay is the first Singapore physician to have a disease named for him in the Western medical literature.