Singapore: Medical Council punishes doctor for not giving leave to worker with broken hand

Inquiry finds the doctor at the Raffles hospital "disregarded the patient's wellbeing".

Singapore's Medical Council has said a doctor has been suspended for six months after it was established that he had sanctioned insufficient medical leave to a construction worker.

The inquiry found the Raffles Hospital doctor failed to conform to the "applicable standard of conduct" during the treatment of a worker who suffered a fracture while on duty.

The doctor, named as Wong Him Choo, treated the patient who suffered an injury to his right hand. Wong assessed the patient suffered distal radius fracture and a metacarpal fracture. He performed a surgery on the patient on the next day.

However, the doctor discharged the patient the same day and gave a certificate stating that the patient was fit for light duties for one month starting the following day.

The Medical Council said the action amounted to professional misconduct. The council said Choon's conduct was an "intentional and deliberate departure from the standards observed or approved by members of the profession of good repute and competency".

The worker apparently returned to duty as he was not entitled to any more leave but suffered pain in the hand a few days later. He was admitted to the Changi General hospital subsequently where he was treated for 19 days as an inpatient.

The Medical Council said the doctor inappropriately certified that the patient was fit to work just days after he suffered a fracture.

A disciplinary tribunal which heard the case observed that the patient with distal radius fracture was entitled to at least two weeks of medical leave.

However, the tribunal acquitted the doctor on the grounds of insufficient evidence to prove that he acted intentionally.

The Medical Council then moved the High Court against the tribunal's verdict. The High Court found the doctor guilty and observed that he "disregarded the patient's wellbeing", the Channel News Asia reported.