SINGAPORE - Doctors have landed themselves in hot water over all kinds of wrongdoings, and some are repeat offenders who refuse to learn their lessons.
On Monday (Jan 16), the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) disciplinary tribunal upheld its six-month suspension of Dr Peter Yong Thiam Look and a $10,000 fine, for his failing to keep proper notes and not dispensing enough advice before performing trigger finger surgery on a patient in 2012.
Dr Yong also did the operation at his consultation table, despite guidelines requiring such surgery to be performed in a procedure or operating room.
This was not his first brush with the law, he was suspended for six months and fined $5,000 by the SMC in 2004 for overprescribing sleeping pills.
Here are four other cases where doctors have committed offences:
1. Supplying cough syrup to addicts
Dr Liew Kert Chian supplied bottles of 90ml cough syrup to over 30 addicts at $22 each between Jan 2 and Oct 5, 2011. Practising at Temasek Clinic & Surgery in Bedok then, he did not make prescriptions and erased records of the sale in pencil on the addicts' treatment cards. A total of 73 canisters of cough syrup - each 3,800ml - were unaccounted for.
Dr Liew, then 46, was suspended for 12 months starting in March 2016 and ordered to pay a penalty of $5,000 by the SMC's disciplinary tribunal.
He was convicted in the Subordinate Courts in October 2013 of supplying cough syrup without keeping a proper record, and was fined $4,500.
2. Not giving injured workers enough medical leave
Raffles Hospital orthopaedic surgeon Wong Him Choon, then 51, was suspended for six months by the court in May 2016, after an appeal by the SMC. Dr Wong performed surgery on construction worker Fan Mao Bing's broken hand in 2011, but gave the Chinese national just two days' medical leave and certified him fit for light duties for a month after that.
But light duties were unavailable, and when Mr Fan saw him on Oct 5, 2011, Dr Wong backdated the leave to cover Sept 6 to Nov 20, 2011.
The court said Dr Wong was trying to hide his mistake of "failing to ensure there were adequate conditions for rest and rehabilitation".
The court agreed with the SMC that Dr Wong's main concern was "advancing the interests of the employer".
3. Wrongly stating the causes of death
General practitioner Kwan Kah Yee, then 65, was jailed for nine months in July 2016 for wrongly stating the causes of death for two patients.
His death certificate for Ms Siti Mariam Mohd Salleh, 32, stated that she died of "ischaemic heart disease", while the other for Mr Gareth Tan Soon Poh, 26, stated his causes of death as "bronchiectasis" and "chronic obstructive airway disease". There was no proof for either. No reason was given as to why he wrongly stated the causes of death.
The SMC appealed to the Court of Three Judges, which in July 2015 raised Dr Kwan's suspension to three years. He was ordered to pay $6,000 in legal costs to the SMC.
He had already been suspended for three months, fined $5,000 and censured by the SMC for wrongly stating a patient's cause of death in 2009.
4. Molesting a patient
Medical doctor Winston Lee Siew Boon, then 71, served a 10-month prison sentence in 2015 for molesting his female patient twice.
In June 2011, he put his hand under her bra and squeezed her breast after she complained of chest pains upon completing a HIV blood test at his Bukit Batok clinic. Brushing it off as part of the check-up, the patient returned to see him four months later for a sore throat and to discuss weight management. Lee then groped her breast twice. However, he claimed that he had placed a clenched fist over her breastbone to show where she would feel chest pains.