Lipo-death clinic fined for breaking the law

Dr Jim Wong Meng Hang (left) and Dr Zhu Xiu Chun (right).
PHOTO: Lipo-death clinic fined for breaking the law

SINGAPORE - A clinic, where a 44-year-old man underwent a liposuction operation and died later, was fined a total of $60,000 yesterday for breaking the law.

Reves Clinic, located at International Building in Orchard Road and now called Yume Aesthetic & Medical Clinic, pleaded guilty to six charges in the State Courts under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act.

Four of the charges involved letting Wong Meng Hang, 38, carry out liposuction on patients without the presence of a registered nurse, or an assistant with the relevant training and experience in an operating theatre.

The remaining two charges accused Zhu Xiu Chun alias Myint Myint Kyi, 51, of the same offence.

Both were directors of the clinic.

The man who died was Franklin Heng, chief executive of YTL Pacific Star, a property management company, who collapsed at the clinic during the procedure on Dec 30, 2009.

He was taken to the accident and emergency department of Tan Tock Seng Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Yesterday, Wong was fined $26,000, and Zhu, $18,000, for failing to give patients who signed up for liposuction a seven-day cooling-off period, and to get patient feedback three months after the treatment.

The offences were committed at TLC @ Orchard Clinic, which the two doctors were running before they closed it in September 2009 and opened Reves.

Wong, the licensee and clinic manager of TLC which was at Far East Shopping Centre, pleaded guilty to eight charges, while Zhu admitted to two charges.

During the cooling-off period, no payment should be collected, and treatment cannot be carried out. But Wong had collected deposits for the procedure from patients on the day of their first consultation.

As for Zhu, she carried out liposuction on a patient on the first day of consultation in May 2009.

The court heard that more than three months after their liposuction procedures, patients returned to TLC for other procedures. But Wong had no records that showed he got feedback from them.

The lawyer for Reves Clinic, Tan Beng Swee, said in mitigation that other than Mr Heng who died from complications, none of the other five cases had complaints.

Zhu's lawyer, S. Selvaraj, said his client, who had donated money to the Kidney Dialysis Foundation and Red Cross for the 2011 tsunami victims in Japan, had suffered an ordeal from the embarrassment following newspaper reports of her case.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper , a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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