Doctor fined $7,000 for forging his own MCs
Lawyer said he was depressed after his then-girlfriend broke up with him
A doctor was fined $7,000 for forgery yesterday after signing and backdating his own medical certificates (MCs). He allegedly did so when he was depressed after his then-girlfriend broke up with him saying she was seeing someone else in Canada.
Joel Arun Sursas, 28, was posted to Changi General Hospital's (CGH) Diagnostic Radiology Department from September 2015 to January 2016.
On Nov 20, 2015, he reported sick and did not go to work. However, he worked as a locum doctor at Etern Medical Clinic that evening, and was paid $95 an hour.
Five days later, he forged and backdated his own MC from Etern and submitted it to CGH.
Sursas pleaded guilty to the charge of forgery, with three similar charges for forged MCs he made for himself on other occasions taken into consideration.
Deputy public prosecutor Eric Hu asked for a fine of $8,000 as the offence was difficult to detect.
In mitigation, Sursas' lawyer Lee Teck Leng said he made the MCs only when he had to explain his absence, which was due to him feeling depressed after a break-up with his then-girlfriend who was living in Canada. Sursas allegedly paid for the Singaporean woman's expenses and air-tickets when she travelled to Singapore during their two-year relationship.
But they broke up in August 2015 when she suddenly told him she was seeing someone else. Even after that, she allegedly continued to be indecisive, unsure about leaving him one moment, then dashing his hopes the next. Mr Lee said this resulted in Sursas having insomnia, and being tired and lethargic at work. He added his client worked as a locum in an attempt to save up enough money to go to Canada to try and salvage his relationship.
Sursas was previously dealt with by the Singapore Medical Council, who suspended him for three years, fined him $15,000, censured him and ordered him to pay the costs of the proceedings. He is also no longer a registered doctor here.
In sentencing yesterday, District Judge Mathew Joseph noted the issues Sursas had to deal with.
He said: "This is a sad case... going forward, I suggest you try to pick up the pieces."
Issuing a statement through his lawyer yesterday, Sursas said he was hoping for a chance. "I deeply regret my actions," he said. "The last four years have not diminished my desire to serve society as a doctor. I hope society allows me to redeem myself."
For forgery, he could have been jailed up to four years and fined.
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