Doctor barred for 2nd time; Disciplinary Tribunal cites need for deterrence in dismissing appeal

A Disciplinary Tribunal upheld its six-month suspension of Dr Peter Yong Thiam Look on Monday (Jan 16).
A Disciplinary Tribunal upheld its six-month suspension of Dr Peter Yong Thiam Look on Monday (Jan 16).PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A Disciplinary Tribunal upheld its six-month suspension of Dr Peter Yong Thiam Look on Monday (Jan 16) - making it the second time the same doctor was temporarily barred from practising in Singapore.

Dr Yong had pleaded guilty to two charges of professional misconduct and one charge of failing to provide professional services of the quality which is reasonable to expect of him, stemming from a procedure he performed in 2012. But he appealed the tribunal's earlier order of a six-month suspension, saying it was "manifestly excessive".

Dr Yong had on Aug 16, 2012, performed trigger finger release surgery without obtaining the patient's informed consent. The procedure corrects "trigger finger", a condition where tendons that move the fingers get stuck within tight tunnels in the hands.

The tribunal dismissed Dr Yong's appeal, the Singapore Medical Council said in a press release on Monday. It noted, among other things, that Dr Yong's violations were serious, and that there was a need for both general and specific deterrence given Dr Yong's previous misconduct.

In 2004, Dr Yong had also been suspended for six months after being found guilty of overprescribing sleeping pills. He also had an antecedent in Australia.

Dr Yong was formerly a registered general practitioner with AcuMed Medical Group of Clinics. At the time of the offence, he was practising at a clinic at Block 64, Yung Kuang Road. He is no longer with the group.

In addition to the suspension, Dr Yong will also be censured, pay a penalty of $10,000 and give a written undertaking to the SMC that he will not engage in similar conduct. The tribunal also awarded costs of the appeal to the SMC, to be fixed at $20,000, and allowed Dr Yong's request for his suspension to take effect on Feb 1 this year.

Dr Yong will be suspended for six months from Feb 1 to July 31.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story said Dr Yong was a registered practitioner with AcuMed  Medical Group of Clinics. They have clarified that he is "no longer employed nor has any working relationship" with the group.