TCM physician fined, suspended

Ms Wu had misdiagnosed a 15-year-old pregnant girl's condition as hormonal imbalance.
Ms Wu had misdiagnosed a 15-year-old pregnant girl's condition as hormonal imbalance.

A 53-year-old traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physician and acupuncturist has been fined $5,000 and suspended for three months after misdiagnosing a pregnant patient and prescribing herbal medication which may have harmed her and her unborn baby.

The TCM Practitioners Board said it received a complaint from the patient's father that Ms Wu Liping had misdiagnosed his 15-year-old daughter.

Ms Wu was at the time a TCM physician and acupuncturist at Shenzhou Chinese Physician Clinic.

On April 11 and April 18, the patient, who was accompanied by her mother, had consulted Ms Wu after missing her menstruation for five months.

Ms Wu had diagnosed the patient's condition as hormonal imbalance when in fact the patient had been five months pregnant at the time of consultation.

She then prescribed the patient a herbal medication known as "Persica and Carthamus Four Materials Decoction with Added Flavours".

It is used to revitalise and strengthen the blood flow but it posed health risks to both the patient and her unborn child.

The patient was subsequently accompanied by her father to see a general practitioner on April 28 when she complained of diarrhoea.

The GP performed a pregnancy test which turned out to be positive.

In a statement, the board noted that Ms Wu's diagnosis and prescription "was not an appropriate and/or generally accepted TCM treatment and fell short of the standard set out in the Ethical Code".

An investigation committee set up by the board found Ms Wu guilty of professional negligence.

She had failed to conduct an adequate clinical examination as well as take down the medical history of the patient.

She also failed to consider and eliminate the possibility that the patient could have been pregnant, given her condition at the time of the consultations.

Following the committee's findings, the TCM Practitioners Board suspended Ms Wu's registration as a TCM physician and as an acupuncturist from June 1. She was also fined and issued a notice of censure.

Ms Wu was ordered to pay for the costs of the inquiry hearing, investigation and action taken against her by the board.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'TCM physician fined, suspended'. Print Edition | Subscribe