HK man wins suit against local doctor & Gleneagles Hospital

PHOTO: HK man wins suit against local doctor & Gleneagles Hospital

SINGAPORE - Private investor Li Siu Lun sued surgeon Dr Looi Kok Poh for performing a procedure on him that he did not give consent for.

Dr Looi had severed Mr Li's nerves during a surgery in April 2006 and then reattached them without getting the patient's consent first.

Three months later, Dr Looi told a nurse to include the name of the procedure, 'ulnar neurolysis and repair', in the patient's consent form whhich had already be signed by Mr Li.

Dr Looi also gave the nurse, Chew Soo San, a pen in the same colour ink as that in the form.

Mr Li, who experienced 'extreme numbness and loss of sensation and movement of his fingers', checked his medical records in August 2006 and realised that they had been doctored.

In March 2009, Mr Li, who is from Hong Kong and holds a British passport, filed a lawsuit against Dr Looi and Gleneagles Hospital.

Mr Li claimed negligence, breach of contract and battery.

Yesterday, Singapore's High Court held Gleneagles Hospital liable for failing to protect the patient's medical records.

The hospital also admitted it was responsible for its nurse altering the patient's consent form and giving a copy of the form to Mr Li in 2007.

The court will assess the amount of damages Dr Looi and Gleneagles Hospital will have to pay Mr Li.

The Straits Times reported that Mr Li has spent about $500,000 on medical expenses, legal feels and engaging expert witnesses for the trial.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Gleneagles Hospital chief executive Kok Mun Foong said: 'We regret that the actions of one of our nurses and the patient's surgeon have caused Mr Li distress.

'On behalf of Gleneagles Hospital, we apologise to Mr Li for what he has gone through. We are happy that the court has concluded the case. We can now focus our energies on caring for our patients.'

The national daily also reported that Mr Li wants to pursue criminal action against Dr Looi and the hospital and has complained to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

He will also write to inform them of the outcome of the current civil case.

The Ministry of Health is currently investigating the case.