CEO had laser op on tummy in 2006

PHOTO: CEO had laser op on tummy in 2006

He watched his diet and worked out at the gym three times a week. But he was still not satisfied with his body.

He went to see a doctor in 2006 to undergo laser lipolysis, a procedure which uses laser to burn off fat.

Mr Franklin Heng Ann Tee, 44, the CEO of YTL Pacific Star, is believed to have used a fake name to register at the Thomson Plaza clinic.

Then, three years later, in December 2009, Mr Heng went for liposuction at Reves Clinic at Orchard Road. He died without regaining consciousness.

The cause of death was classified as multiple iatrogenic punctures of the intestines due to liposuction.

Yesterday, at the coroner's inquiry into his death, the court was told that on Jan 6, 2006, a man believed to be Mr Heng had gone to Ageless Aesthetic Medical Centre at Thomson Plaza.

He told the counter staff that his name was Hong Ah Tu and gave them his IC number, address and mobile phone number.

The court was told that the man had not provided the clinic with his identity card. But the IC number and address he gave was that of Mr Heng's.

He then consulted Dr Tan Kok Leong, who has been practising there for nine years.

After asking about laser lipolysis and the risks involved, he told Dr Tan that he wanted to remove some fat from his tummy.

He then signed a consent form and paid $2,500.

Under sedation, his abdomen was numbed and laser lipolysis was performed for 20 minutes. After resting for a while, he got dressed and left the clinic.

Four days later, he returned to have his stitches removed.

On Dec 30, 2009, Mr Heng underwent liposuction at Reves Clinic.

Mr Heng, who was divorced with two children, was living with his girlfriend, Ms Mabel Leong Mun Yee, 31, at that time.

Ms Leong, whose police statement was tendered in court, said she did not know Mr Heng had his fat removed in 2006.

Mr Heng left their Upper Thomson Road home at about 7am for the liposuction.

She said Mr Heng, who was "healthy and health-conscious", did not seem anxious and did not ask her to go with him

The court was told that Mr Heng was sedated during the 11/2-hour liposuction procedure.

As Dr Jim Wong performed the procedure, Dr Zhu Xiu Chun @ Myint Mying Kyi monitored his vital signs. A nurse was present.

The doctor doing the surgery commented that "a lot of tough, fibrous tissue had built up at the lower abdomen due to his previous liposuction procedures" and that this made the insertion of surgical probes difficult.

The surgery ended at about 3.50pm after some of the fat removed from Mr Heng's back had been injected into his chest "for bulk".

The Dr Zhu then left, while Dr Wong and the nurse dressed Mr Heng's wounds.

Around 4.10pm, Dr Wong went for a toilet break. When he returned five minutes later, he noticed Mr Heng was pale and could not be awoken.

He called for an ambulance and began performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

When the paramedics arrived at about 4.45pm, they continued performing CPR.

In the ambulance, a paramedic noticed that Mr Heng had no pulse. When they arrived at Tan Tock Seng Hospital at about 5pm, he had no spontaneous heartbeat or breathing. CPR was continued, but he died at 6pm.

In her statement to the police, Ms Leong said a forensic pathologist found 15 punctures in Mr Heng's organs, of which 13 were to the intestines.

The court was told yesterday that an expert witness, Dr Vincent Yeow, felt that "the procedure was not conducted in a manner that is acceptable to ensure patient safety".

Dr Yeow had told the police that "an occurrence of intra-abdominal penetration during liposuction is extremely rare and should not be considered an acceptable risk".

The inquiry is expected to last for three weeks. Other witnesses who will take the stand include Dr Wong, Dr Zhu and an assistant nurse who attended to Mr Heng during the liposuction.


This article was first published in The New Paper.