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SGH responds to complaint about doctors bruising patient's hands during blood taking

SGH responds to complaint about doctors bruising patient's hands during blood taking
PHOTO: Facebook/Teri T Tan

The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has responded to a public complaint by a patient's family.

In a Facebook post on Monday (Jan 8), Teri Tan said that her father had bruised hands after doctors allegedly used him as a "guinea pig".

On Nov 23, Tan discovered that her father's left hand had "multiple needle holes and looked bruised and swollen".

"SGH staff tried to collect blood by repeatedly inserting and removing the needle into various parts of my father's hand as if they were figuring out which was the correct spot," Tan wrote.

"This was the cause of all the holes and swelling on his hand, apparently."

On Dec 2, Tan noticed that her father's right hand was swollen and bruised.

Speaking with the staff nurse, Tan was told that a resident doctor had caused the injuries.

She then asked to meet with the doctor and was told that the doctor would only be free after he made his rounds.

However, 40 minutes later, the nurse told Tan that the doctor had "already left work as it was a Saturday".

"It is apparent that the resident doctor could not account for what he did and left the hospital when he knew I had expected an explanation," Tan wrote.

She also asked: "How could SGH condone such acts of irresponsibility and incompetence… allowing their senior doctors to turn a blind eye and ignore us completely while their junior doctors were practicing on patients, treating them as guinea pigs?

"Every patient should be treated with dignity and respect. This unfortunate experience has definitely shattered all confidence we ever had of SGH."

Tan's father died on Dec 10.

Our staff are competent: SGH

Addressing the concerns raised by the patient's family, SGH shared that elderly patients and those taking certain medications "often have fragile skin and thin veins".

"This makes blood taking difficult and can lead to bruising as several attempts may be required even though our staff are competent in performing the procedure," said Associate Professor Loo Chian Min, SGH's Chairman of the Division of Medicine.

When Tan requested to speak with the doctor on Dec 2, the latter was already off-duty and had left the hospital.

The doctor also called Tan but was unable to reach her, so he called the patient's wife instead to explain the bruises that the family was concerned about.

"We are appreciative that the patient's wife was understanding and accepted our explanation and apology for the discomfort caused," SGH said.

SGH added it was sorry that the family's request to speak with a senior doctor wasn't properly relayed.

"We would like to assure Ms Tan and her family that the patient was looked after by an experienced care team, who was constantly updating the patient's wife throughout his stay with us.  "

SGH also reached out to Tan and the patient's wife privately on the matter.

ALSO READ: 'Perhaps I should or would be dead': Actress Rui En had scary brush with deep vein thrombosis

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