Verdict in liposuction death inquiry postponed to Tuesday

Dr Edward Foo (right) leaving the State Courts on April 14, 2014. The coroner's verdict on the death of a woman who died after liposuction last year has been postponed to Tuesday, April 22, 2014, after the lawyer for the doctor involved wanted t
Dr Edward Foo (right) leaving the State Courts on April 14, 2014. The coroner's verdict on the death of a woman who died after liposuction last year has been postponed to Tuesday, April 22, 2014, after the lawyer for the doctor involved wanted to ask an expert witness more questions. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The coroner's verdict on the death of a woman who died after liposuction last year has been postponed to Tuesday, after the lawyer for the doctor involved wanted to ask an expert witness more questions.

State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid was supposed to deliver the verdict on the death of Ms Mandy Yeong, 44, who died last June following treatment by Dr Edward Foo of TCS Clinic, on Monday.

But Dr Foo's lawyer, Mr Charles Lin of MyintSoe & Selvaraj, wanted to ask Associate Professor Ti Lian Kah, an anaesthetist with the National University Health System, more questions on his comment that Dr Foo had given higher than recommended levels of sedatives.

The amount of sedatives that Dr Foo had given to Ms Yeong had been the focus of Monday's inquiry hearing. Prof Ti said the amount was triple the maximum recommended by the drug manufacturer.

Dr Foo's poor record keeping was also a major issue in the inquiry.

"He has a right to be worried," the Coroner told Mr Lin, noting that the case has taken up three days of the coroner's time. "Unfortunately, I don't know what the time of her collapse is," the coroner added.

Various times for the collapse have been put forth, with 2.30 pm and 2.45 pm as the most likely. But these are based on recollections of staff involved, rather than from actual notes, which are supposed to be compulsory.

Ms Yeong is the second person here to die as a result of liposuction treatment. In her case, fat was to be moved from her abdomen to smoothen out her thighs, which had hollows in them.

State Counsel Bhajanvir Singh had previously argued that Dr Foo had not followed several Ministry of Health (MOH) regulations for liposuction treatment, including providing a cooling off period and not collecting money when the appointment is made.

While the doctor's breach of MOH regulations on aesthetic treatment is not central to the inquiry, the coroner said it does "reflect a mindset", without elaborating.

The Coroner also remarked that patient care should not differ between hospitals and clinics, as "patient care is patient care".