SMC tribunal unfair to fine doctor $100,000

Why did the Singapore Medical Council tribunal impose a heavy fine on a doctor for not informing a patient of side effects of a common injection? And how will that decision affect how doctors practise medicine henceforth?

Last month, a disciplinary tribunal convened by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) released its judgment in the case of Dr Lim Lian Arn, an orthopaedic surgeon in private practice.

Dr Lim was given the maximum fine of $100,000 for not informing his patient of the possible side effects of an injection he had given her. This judgment caused an uproar in the medical community because doctors say the H&L (steroid) injection that he administered is commonly used as it is a cost-effective treatment, and the side effects are rare and limited to a short period. Most doctors do not tell patients of possible side effects.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'The puzzling case of SMC's judgment on a doctor who was fined $100,000'. Print Edition | Subscribe