GP fined, suspended for mismanaging cases

SINGAPORE - A general practitioner has been fined and suspended for mismanaging 17 of his patients.

Dr Andrew Tang Yen Ho, 53, who runs a practice at Tang Medical & Surgery at Jalan Batu, was found to have carelessly given out prescriptions for hypnotic medication and codeine-laced cough mixtures.

The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said in a statement yesterday that Dr Tang was also found guilty of not maintaining proper records of his patients' diagnoses, conditions and treatment plans.

After an inquiry held last month, the SMC found Dr Tang guilty of all 34 charges he faced. He was slapped with the maximum fine of $10,000 and suspended for six months, starting June 9.

The first-time offender also failed to attempt to wean the patients off the hypnotic medication, said the SMC. This can be risky considering that prolonged use of hypnotics can lead to addiction. The drugs are used to treat a variety of ailments including anxiety and insomnia.

It noted that Dr Tang's wayward method of prescribing medication and failure to keep proper records indicate "a pattern of intentional, deliberate departure" from professional standards.

For instance, his documentation did not allow him to properly assess the medical condition of the patient over the treatment period. His records were so unclear that another doctor would not have been able to follow them to take over the case.

Dr Tang, who has been in the practice for 28 years, also did not refer his patients to specialists when appropriate, or inform them about the side effects of medicine they were prescribed, the council added.

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