Doctor fined $15,000 for performing eyebag surgery without proper qualification

A doctor has been fined $15,000 by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) for performing eyebag surgery even though he was not qualified to do so.

The Ministry of Health had filed a complaint against Dr Peter Goh Min Yih, chief surgeon at Advanced Surgical Group, on Dec 8, 2010.

That prompted the SMC to hold a disciplinary inquiry against Dr Goh, who faced two charges of professional misconduct under the Medical Registration Act.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the medical watchdog said Dr Goh contested both charges.

After a four-day inquiry, the SMC's disciplinary tribunal handed down a verdict on Feb 18 this year, dismissing one charge against him and finding him guilty of the other charge.

Under existing guidelines, only plastic surgeons or ophthalmologists trained in oculoplasty (plastic surgery for the eye) are allowed to perform blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery.

Dr Goh argued that the surgery he performed was not blepharoplasty under the guidelines, and that the definition of the procedure was ambiguous.

However, the tribunal found that the eyebag surgery he performed was "undisputedly" blepharoplasty. It also noted that he had failed to seek clarification from the SMC if he was unsure whether the surgery he performed was regulated by the guidelines.

The tribunal also noted that "considering his experience and seniority as a general surgeon, Dr Goh ought to have some working knowledge of blepharoplasty, contrary to his claims that he did not".

It also rejected other arguments that he raised in his defence.

After considering mitigating factors - including no evidence of harm to the patients who underwent the surgery - the tribunal censured Dr Goh and fined him $15,000.

It also ordered that he give a written undertaking to the SMC that he will not perform medical procedures that he is not qualified for, and will bear 70 per cent of the costs and expenses of the inquiry.