Court clears orthopaedic surgeon of $100,000 fine for misconduct | The New Paper

Court clears orthopaedic surgeon of $100,000 fine for misconduct

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The Court of Appeal yesterday cleared an orthopaedic surgeon who was fined $100,000 by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) for not informing a patient about the potential side effects of his treatment.

Dr Lim Lian Arn was given the maximum fine by the SMC's disciplinary tribunal in January after he pleaded guilty to professional misconduct.

He had given a steroid injection to the patient for pain on her left wrist in 2014. She later filed a complaint against him, claiming to have developed a skin condition and loss of fat and muscle tissue from the injection.

More than 4,000 doctors signed a petition against the judgement, which they felt was too severe and would encourage doctors to practise defensive medicine. In February, the Ministry of Health (MOH) asked SMC to apply to the court to have its decision reviewed.

In delivering the judgement yesterday, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon described the case as "an ill-judged prosecution, an unwise decision to plead guilty and an unfounded conviction".

The Court of Three Judges, which included Justice Andrew Phang and Justice Judith Prakash, said: "Having heard the parties, we are satisfied that there has been a miscarriage of justice and that Dr Lim's conviction must be set aside. Simply put, the undisputed facts do not support the charge."

Stressing that their decision "is not a response to the outcry from the medical community", the judges said it was a one-off incident, and the patient would likely have chosen to have the injection if told of the possible side effects. Dr Lim's decision to plead guilty, in spite of having strong merits on his side, had made the case more difficult, the judges said.