NUH probes woman's death after successful surgery

PHOTO: NUH probes woman's death after successful surgery

SINGAPORE – The National University Hospital (NUH) is investigating the death of an elderly patient who died after a successful heart operation.

Dr Tay Jia Sheng, a registrar who was overseeing the patient on the day she died, has resigned from the hospital, reported The Straits Times today. He had been training to be a heart surgeon.

The medical officer on duty, Dr Ng Hui Chong, has decided not to train in surgery, added the report.

The case

On 11 Oct, 74-year-old Madam Heng Choon Noi underwent an operation by heart surgeon Professor Lee Chuen Nen. She was moved to the general ward after spending three days in intensive care. Mdm Heng, who was being treated at a private patient in a B1 ward, died on Monday, Oct 17, after a weekend in which her condition, according to her family, deteriorated.

That weekend, both Dr Ng and Dr Tay had deemed that Mdm Heng's condition was stable.

When Professor Lee saw Mdm Heng on Monday during his ward rounds, he diagnosed her with pneumonia and had her sent to the intensive care unit. However, she died an hour later.

Mdm Heng's family alleges that her death was due to 'negligence and serious lapse of due diligence by the doctors at the ward', reported The Straits Times.

NUH is convening a formal inquiry and has promised to provide Mdm Heng's family a full account.