What TCM practitioner failed to do

An acupuncturist sticking needles into the stomach of a patient.
An acupuncturist sticking needles into the stomach of a patient.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Dr Ong Siew Chey for his letter (TCM board should clarify proper treatment practices, April 6).

The probe into the complaint against traditional chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner Lee Miing Chong was conducted by four senior TCM practitioners and a lay person.

Their report was subsequently reviewed and finalised by the TCM Practitioners Board.

The patient had first consulted Mr Lee for his condition - general weakness and chills.

The diagnosis based on TCM syndrome differentiation was deficiency in "yang" energy.

Treatment with a heat lamp is appropriate and is one of the generally accepted methods of TCM treatment for this condition.

However, Mr Lee failed to take adequate precaution and care when he was administering the heat lamp treatment to avoid inflicting burns or injury to the patient's feet.

When the patient developed blisters on his feet due to thermal burn, Mr Lee should have referred the patient for Western medical treatment.

When the patient subsequently developed a high fever which persisted, Mr Lee should have referred the patient to the hospital for further treatment without delay.

The board ruled that Mr Lee's conduct amounted to serious professional misconduct and negligence, and suspended his registration for the maximum period of three years and a fine of $5,000.

The safety of patients is of paramount importance. We remind TCM practitioners to exercise the utmost care and prudence when prescribing and administering TCM treatments to their patients.

Quah Ai Mui

Executive Secretary

Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2019, with the headline 'What TCM practitioner failed to do'. Print Edition | Subscribe