Doctors gave liposuction patient too much sedative: Coroner

PHOTO: Doctors gave liposuction patient too much sedative: Coroner

SINGAPORE - Property management firm CEO Mr Franklin Heng died after doctors gave him too much sedative during a liposuction operation, said a coroner.

State Coroner Victor Yeo said that Mr Heng was given a large dose of propofol - the same sedative that killed pop singer Michael Jackson.

Doctors Dr Jim Wong, 36, and Dr Zhu Xiu Chun, 48, claimed that they had given Mr Heng 60ml of propofol, but had actually given more, said Coroner Yeo.

The effect of the drug was almost like a general anaesthetic, which prevented Mr Heng from reacting when Dr Wong accidentally punctured his intestines 13 times.

The CEO of YTL Pacific star was supposed to have been conscious during the procedure where fat was removed from his back and abdomen.

The procedure was carried out at Reves Clinic in Orchard Road on Dec 30, 2009.

When Mr Heng reacted to the pain by struggling and moving his arms, the doctors sedated him further, not realising he was injured.

Dr Wong had stepped out for a toilet break for five minutes about 20 minutes after the procedure ended, leaving his nurse alone to dress Mr Wong's wounds.

Upon returning, he was unable to rouse Mr Heng, who had turned pale and unresponsive. He then called for the ambulance and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Mr Heng was then taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where he died without regaining consciousness.

Mr Heng died from the effects of asphyxia because he was unable to support his own airway.

Coroner Yeo said said the two doctors' testimonies about the amount of propofol administered to the patient was unreliable. He added that the way the patient was monitored while under sedation during the procedure and after the procedure was inadequate.

Witness plastic surgeon Vincent Yeow, said that the multiple intestine perforations did not kill Mr Heng, but started a chain of events leading to his death.

Another witness, anaesthetist Boey Wah Keong said that Mr Heng's airway could have become obstructed, causing cardiac arrest.

Both doctors declined to comment during the hearing. Dr Wong extended his condolences to the patient's family and said he was 'deeply sorry'.

Mr Heng's family filed a civil suit against the doctors.