HIV-positive man duped authorities with doctor's blood sample
After meeting online, American Mikhy Farrera Brochez got into a romantic relationship in 2007 with Ler Teck Siang, a local general practitioner (GP).
Brochez, now 33, moved to Singapore a year later and in order to stay here, applied for an Employment Pass (EP) and submitted a test result showing that he did not have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
But Brochez was HIV-positive and would not have been able to work here.
He had taken an earlier test in March 2008 at a Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (Sata) clinic using a fake Bahamian passport and tested positive.
To dupe the authorities, Brochez went to the clinic where Ler, now 36, was working as a stand-in doctor for a medical test, but the blood sample used was from Ler, who labelled it with his partner's particulars.
Brochez was subsequently issued an EP and worked as a polytechnic lecturer.
But the authorities were on to them and in 2013 the Manpower Ministry moved to cancel his EP.
Brochez then claimed that he had been wrongly accused and the pair used the same ruse again. Still, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the police started investigating the matter.
Brought to trial in 2017, Brochez pleaded guilty to six charges, with 17 others taken into consideration, and was jailed 28 months for offences including cheating, lying to a public servant, possessing drugs and using forged educational certificates.
The same year, Ler was charged with two counts of abetment of cheating and two counts of giving a false statement to a public servant. A fifth charge under the Official Secrets Act was stood down.
Ler was accused of lying to an MOH investigator in 2013 and the police in 2014, but later gave two statements in 2016 confessing to substituting his blood for his partner's.
Ler claimed he had given these statements under duress but his allegations were rejected by district judge Luke Tan last year.
Ler has appealed against his conviction and sentence of two years in jail, and is currently out on bail.
Past health scandals
The local healthcare sector made the news for the wrong reasons recently:
A dental clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital used eight packs of equipment that had not been completely sterilised on some patients.
As a result, 18 staff from the dental clinic faced disciplinary action, including financial penalties and warnings.
At the National Dental Centre Singapore, 72 instrument packs were not completely sterilised and might have been used on 714 patients.
Between June 27 and July 4, a cyber breach occurred at SingHealth, Singapore's largest group of healthcare institutions with four hospitals, five national speciality centres and eight polyclinics.
Hackers stole the personal data of 1.5 million patients. Of these, 160,000 outpatient prescriptions, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's and several ministers, were also stolen.
It was Singapore's worst data leak.
Lapses at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) saw a major outbreak of hepatitis C that infected 25 people, out of which eight died. An independent review committee pointed to lapses at SGH and gaps in the Ministry of Health's infectious diseases reporting system.
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now