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'. Print Edition | Subscribe