Doctor suspended for wrongly stating cause of death

PHOTO: Doctor suspended for wrongly stating cause of death

SINGAPORE - A general practitioner has been suspended from practice for three months and fined $5,000 for wrongly stating a patient's cause of death.

The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said yesterday that Dr Kwan Kah Yee, 60, did not have enough evidence to conclude that the patient died of congestive cardiac failure.

The decision comes after inquiry hearings held in May, June and last month following a November 2009 complaint submitted to the SMC by a family member of the dead patient.

Dr Kwan's suspension took effect from Aug 12.

An SMC statement said: "The certification was...wrong in that congestive cardiac failure is not a cause of death but a mode of death."

Dr Kwan, a registered medical practitioner at Superbcity Hospice at Peninsula Plaza, had faced one charge of professional misconduct under the Medical Registration Act.

He contested the charge, but at the end of the inquiry the Disciplinary Committee found him guilty.

He was also found to have made an error in certifying that the patient had suffered from ischaemic heart disease for a period of six years before her death, although he had no factual basis for doing so.

Dr Kwan accepted during his cross examination that the patient's cause of death was ischaemic heart disease and that congestive cardiac failure was only a qualifer to that cause of death.

Although the Disciplinary Committee agreed with him that ischaemic heart disease would have taken some time to develop in the patient, it found that there was no evidence that the patient developed ischaemic heart disease six years before her death.

The committee was of the view that the only conclusion that could be made was that the patient had hypertension.

Dr Kwan was censured and ordered to provide a written undertaking to the SMC that he would not engage again in such conduct, and to provide assistance in rectifying the patient's death certificate.

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