Let's be fair to doctors who make honest mistakes

Two recent cases of doctors facing stiff fines - for not getting informed consent and for giving medical information to an imposter - have rocked the medical community. Assessing doctors' wrongdoing requires balancing different principles.

Hot on the heels of the controversial Lim Lian Arn case in which an orthopaedic surgeon was fined $100,000 for not getting informed consent for a common injection, comes the Soo Shuenn Chiang case, in which Dr Soo, a psychiatrist, was fined $50,000 for breach of medical confidentiality for disclosing medical information to someone impersonating the patient's husband.

Both cases have created a furore of hitherto unseen intensity and scale within the local medical profession.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2019, with the headline 'Let's be fair to doctors who make honest mistakes'. Subscribe