Mandate that patients declare use of Chinese herbs before op

It is certainly time for the health authorities to review procedures, in the light of the recent death of Madam Chew Kim Kee, who had failed to tell doctors that she had been taking cordyceps prior to her operation ("Raise awareness of the side effects of cordyceps" by Mr Jeff Tan Hong Liak; June 2).

However, I do not agree with the suggestion that cordyceps should come with a label stating that before consumption, expert advice should be sought - presumably from doctors trained in Western medicine.

Based on my experience and observation, Western doctors are not specially trained in Chinese health supplements and herbs, and will not comment on their use and efficacy.

At best, they will advise patients not to mix Chinese health supplements with Western medicine when undergoing medical treatments or surgery.

A more practical approach would be for the Health Ministry to make it compulsory for patients to declare whether they have been taking Chinese health supplements and herbs before they undergo medical treatments or surgery.

This information is vital, as healthcare experts can then decide on suitable treatment plans and reduce the risk of complications during procedures.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)