TCM physician fined $10k, suspended over blood-letting therapy on woman with blood deficiency

A patient who visited Mr Yap Kwok Ann Joseph's Annie Tiang TCM clinic lost consciousness after her treatment, and also suffered chest pains, dizziness and general discomfort. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner who carried out blood-letting therapy on a blood-deficient woman has been fined $10,000 and suspended for six months.

Mr Yap Kwok Ann Joseph, a TCM physician registered with the TCM Practitioners Board, had seen the patient on Dec 6, 2015, the TCM Practitioners Board said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 30).

The patient had visited Mr Yap's Annie Tiang TCM clinic at The Odeon Katong, a shopping complex at 15, East Coast Road.

She visited Mr Yap's clinic for tuina massage and TCM treatment. While there, Mr Yap administered several treatments on her including blood-letting therapy on her throat. Blood-letting involves the removal of blood deemed "stagnant", to improve "qi" or circulation.

After the treatment, the patient lost consciousness. She also suffered chest pains, dizziness and general discomfort.

After the patient made a complaint to the board, the board conducted an inquiry.

It found that Mr Yap did not carry out appropriate TCM inquiries on the patient's medical history of ectopic pregnancy, a complication of pregnancy where the embryo is attached outside the uterus.

She had undergone a surgical procedure for her ectopic pregnancy about three weeks before visiting Mr Yap's clinic.

The patient also had had a cough for six months, a blood deficiency condition and general fatigue.

Mr Yap also did not inform the patient of treatment options for the cough. He did not inform her of the benefits, risks and possible complications of the blood-letting treatment. He also did not obtain her informed consent.

The board concluded that Mr Yap's blood-letting therapy treatment was carried out without due regard to the patient's safety and well-being.

As a result, the board imposed the following penalties on Mr Yap: A fine of $10,000 and a suspension of his registration as a TCM physician for a period of six months with effect from Dec 1 this year.

He was also censured and required to give an undertaking that he will not commit the same or similar offences in future.

In addition, Mr Yap was ordered to pay costs and expenses of or incidental to the inquiry.

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