Surgeon fined $5,000 for not giving patient enough information

SINGAPORE - A surgeon who did not give his patient sufficient information on the risks involved in his varicose vein treatment, or that another surgeon would be called in to do it, has been fined $5,000, censured and has to pay the cost of the disciplinary hearing by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).

The lawyers representing the SMC had asked for a nine-month suspension, but the disciplinary committee chaired by Professor Lee Eng Hin, felt that would have been too harsh.

That's because they had concluded that Dr Eric Gan Keng Seng, who practises at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, had not deliberately withheld the information from the patient.

He had also pleaded guilty to two of the three charges "which saved time and cost for the SMC and the disciplinary committee". The third charge was withdrawn with no details given.

The press release from the SMC added that Dr Gan "had displayed genuine remorse for his actions".

The complaint from the patient, made in 2009, had at first been dismissed by the SMC's Complaints Committee, which vets all complains made against doctors to decide if the complaints have merit.

The patient then appealed to the Health Minister who directed the SMC to hold a disciplinary hearing into the case.