Malaysian businessman advised to appeal Singapore court decision

PHOTO: The Straits Times

PETALING JAYA - A prominent Malaysian businessman has been advised by his lawyers to appeal the verdict of the Singapore High Court in his case against a surgeon and the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).

"My lawyers have advised me that I have good grounds to file an appeal to the higher courts. This matter is now under consideration," said Tan Sri Clement Hii Chii Kok in a press statement on Tuesday evening.

Hii had sued Singapore surgeon London Lucien Ooi and the NCCS for misdiagnosing him and giving wrong advice on his condition and had undergone complex surgery in August 2010 to remove parts of five organs.

Hii alleged he had been told by the defendants that he suffered from "pancreatic cancer" and that surgery was the only option.

But in a 123-page judgment on Monday, Justice Chan Seng Onn found the evidence did not bear out the claim, noting that no mention was made of a diagnosis of cancer in the discussions and conclusions of the NCSS' tumour board, the medical notes recorded by Dr Ooi or the e-mail correspondence between Hii and his doctors.

Instead, Hii's possible diagnoses were referred to as neuroendocrine tumours, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, or hyperplasia, an abnormal but benign concentration of cells.

His own e-mail messages showed he knew the appropriate terminology and was unlikely to have misunderstood the doctors, noted the judge.

Hii, who studied law and is a former journalist, is managing director of SEGi University group and executive chairman of investment company HCK Capital Group.

"The defendant denied that he had told me I had cancer, and that the option to have surgery was entirely my own. The court chose to believe him. The surgeon also disclaimed any responsibility for the subsequent surgeries resulting from the complications from the first surgery and the court also agreed with him," said Hii in his statement.

It has been reported that Dr Ooi is also being sued by another businessman over the death of his wife, 59-year old Lee Lee Chan, who died from complications, 24 days after undergoing an operation to remove a pancreatic tumour.