Doctor suspended for sex with patient, improper conduct
He admitted to four charges from when he was practising at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Mon, Feb 11, 2008
The Straits Times
A DOCTOR has been suspended from practice for two years and censured by the Singapore Medical Council after a disciplinary inquiry last month. He was convicted of professional misconduct that included having sex with a patient.
Dr Yeong Cheng Toh admitted to four charges while he was practising at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital between April 2003 and March 2005, said a statement from the Singapore Medical Council on Monday.
He was represented by a lawyer at the inquiry, held on Jan 7 and 8. The disciplinary committee (DC) convicted him of improper conduct ‘which brings disrepute to the medical profession’ by engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient and failing to preserve the absolute confidence and trust of a doctor-patient relationship. This is in breach of the SMC’s ethical code and guidelines.
Dr Yeong also tampered with and made inaccurate changes to the patient’s biodata of the patient, and failed to keep proper and accurate records.
He also committed professional misconduct by failing to record or properly document details of the patient’s visits, medical condition and results on medical examinations during the treatment period, and failing to properly maintain patient confidentiality ‘in improperly disclosing to the patient, confidential information relating to the treatment and care of two other patients of the hospital’, said the SMC.
However, the committee took into account the mitigating factors that the patient was not ‘physically or psychologically vulnerable’ and there was no exploitation of the patient.
‘The DC also noted that Dr Yeong had no previous offences and had pleaded guilty, instead of contesting the charges. Based on the evidence presented, the DC was of the view that there was a low risk of Dr Yeong repeating the offence and also considered the favourable testimonies from Dr Yeong’s patients and colleagues,’ said the SMC statement.
Nonetheless, the DC was of the view that Dr Yeong’s conduct transgressed the professional boundary between a doctor and patient and a clear signal had to be sent to the medical profession that gross improper behaviour between a doctor and patient cannot be tolerated. The DC also viewed the three other charges as ‘serious offences.’
Besides the 24-month suspension and censure, Dr Yeong was also ordered to give a written undertaking to the SMC that he will not engage in the conduct which gave rise to the charges against him or any similar conduct in the future and to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.