Clinic nurse bought cough syrup under multiple patients' names , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Clinic nurse bought cough syrup under multiple patients' names

To help her boyfriend get more cough syrup to abuse, a clinic nurse helped him to buy the substance under other patients’ names in 2021.

When one of the patients discovered her identity had been misused, the clinic hired a private investigator to look into the matter and found out what the nurse had done.

Clinic nurse Tan Tong Lin, 42, was sentenced to five months’ jail on June 3 after she pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act and one count of engaging in a conspiracy to cheat.

At the time of the offences, Tan worked at the Dr Helen Tan Clinic in Jurong East. Court documents did not state when she started working there.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Yap Jia Jun told the court that the clinic sold cough syrup over the counter without consultation and only required patients to provide their names and NRIC.

However, it had a rule that only 240ml of cough syrup could be sold to a patient over a period of nine days.

Sometime around May 2021, Tan’s boyfriend Ng Kai Loon, 36, asked her to help him buy cough syrup under other patients’ names, so he could circumvent the rule.

Tan logged into the clinic’s patient information system and obtained the details of 65 “inactive” patients who had not returned to the clinic for some time. She then shared this list with Ng.

In the next eight months, Tan reactivated the patients’ statuses on at least 25 occasions and recorded Ng’s purchases of cough syrup – two 120ml bottles each time – under their names.

The offences were discovered in February 2022 when a patient complained that the clinic allowed others to collect her medication with her identity.

It cost the clinic $12,000 to hire the private investigator, who discovered Tan’s misdeeds.

On June 3, the court heard that Tan had committed theft and drug offences previously, and had been sent for drug rehabilitation twice.

Her lawyer, Mr Kalaithasan Karuppaya of Regent Law, said she was remorseful and asked for the court’s leniency.

In handing down the sentence, District Judge Terence Tay said Tan’s act of retrieving the NRIC numbers of 65 patients was identity theft, and may have resulted in dire consequences for the victims.

For engaging in a conspiracy to cheat, Tan could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Her two offences under the Computer Misuse Act carry a maximum fine of $5,000 and $10,000 respectively, or a maximum jail term of two years and three years respectively.

Ng has been charged with two offences under the Computer Misuse Act and one count of engaging in a conspiracy to cheat.

He has been remanded for more than two months and has yet to enter a plea. His case will be heard in court later in June.

State CourtscrimeGP/GP CLINIC