My mother recently fractured her right hip and underwent an operation at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
The operation was a success but my mother subsequently had diarrhoea and tremors in her hands. She also complained of pain in both legs, and her right eyelid could not be raised.
Her condition worsened after she was discharged. A general practitioner examined her and suspected she had stroke. So my mother was admitted again to SGH.
The specialists wanted her to be tested for stroke, chest infection and cancer, and put her through a whole battery of tests.
My family did our own research and suspected she was suffering an overdose of thyroxine, as she was displaying the typical side effects. Her medical tests also showed an extremely high level of the drug.
We suggested that the dosage be reduced but the doctors continued to prescribe 100 microgrammes daily, which was double her normal dosage, until we warned the hospital that a complaint would be lodged.
When we questioned the specialist, she admitted she did not see my mother after the operation and was unaware of her symptoms.
Once the dosage was reduced, my mother's general well-being improved significantly, all her symptoms disappeared and all the tests turned out negative.
We are disappointed by the treatment she received as the many tests she underwent could have been avoided had there been proper monitoring for possible side effects caused by her medication.
Why was there no subsequent monitoring when an unusually high dosage of a drug was prescribed? And when blood tests or other investigations are carried out, should there not be follow-ups on results that are beyond the normal range?
Julia Lim Kiat Bee (Ms)
This article was published on May 17 in The Straits Times.
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