Over 4000 Petition Health Minister Gan Kim Yong Regarding Doctor’s Treatment

Over 4000 people, including doctors and medical professionals, have signed a petition to Health Minister Gan Kim Yong seeking clarification over the punishment of doctor.

This come after Dr Lim Lian Arn was fined S$100,000 by the Singapore Medical Council for not telling his patient about the possible side effects of the injection, which commonly last for up to 2 days.

The petitioners are concerned that the ruling could place a significant additional burden on doctors that will in turn increase the time and cost of treatment.

The petition asks that the Health Minister examine the ruling and clarify issues that have come about as the result of the ruling.

This, based on a point raised during the disciplinary hearing that a “majority of the medical professionals performing these injections do not routinely take or document a detailed informed consent”.

As stated in the petition:

“For every procedure there are complications that the practitioner, up to now, would have felt were too minor or uncommon to warrant informing the patient…  This ruling has grave implications on how medicine is practised. If patients need to be informed of even the most minor or uncommon side effects of treatment, then the cost and time of treatment must necessarily increase. Every drug prescribed has a long list of potential side effects. A doctor having to go through each and every one of them would take a very long time, especially with patients on many tablets.”

Dr Lim, an orthopaedic doctor from Alpha Joints & Orthopaedics at Gleneagles Medical Centre, was fined the maximum S$100,000 on Monday (21 Jan) for not telling his patient of the possible side effects of an injection he gave her.

The patient sought treatment in Oct 2016 for a pain in her left wrist.

After a magnetic resonance imaging scan, Dr Lim gave her the option of wearing a brace and taking oral medication, with or without the injection.

While he did not tell her of the possible side effects of the injection, he also did not actively recommend the treatment.

The H&L (steroid) injection can cause a patient to experience “increased pain and inflammation in the area injected that can be worse than the pain and inflammation caused by the condition being treated”.

The SMC disciplinary tribunal found the treatment appropriate.

However, in delivering punishment, the tribunal said that Dr Lim should have informed the patient of possible side effects so she could decide whether to have the injection or not.



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