Surgeon who didn’t give MC to worker appeals against suspension | The New Paper

Surgeon who didn’t give MC to worker appeals against suspension

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An orthopaedic surgeon found guilty of professional misconduct by a disciplinary tribunal for certifying a migrant worker fit for work one day after his collarbone operation has appealed against his conviction.

Dr Kevin Yip Man Hing did not give any sick leave to the 47-year-old construction worker, apart from the two days that he spent in hospital.

Instead, he certified that the Chinese national was fit for "light duties" upon discharge, and he did the same after two post-surgical reviews.

At his appeal before the Court of Three Judges yesterday, Dr Yip argued through his lawyer, Mr Navin Joseph Lobo, that the patient had agreed to go back to work and it was appropriate to give him light duties as the benefits of being mobile enabled rehabilitation to begin sooner.

A disciplinary tribunal investigated the incident, following a complaint to the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) by migrant worker rights group Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).

It handed a five-month suspension to Dr Yip, 57, last year after finding he had "failed to ensure that adequate sick leave was given to (the patient) in light of his condition and the nature of his occupation".

The SMC has also appealed, arguing for a longer suspension of 18 months.

The worker was injured on July 7, 2011, when he fell from a one-storey height. He suffered a collarbone fracture, rib fractures and an injured wrist. The same day, Dr Yip, who has a private practice at Gleneagles Medical Centre, carried out surgery on the fractured collarbone.

The operation stretched till July 8 and the patient was discharged that day. Dr Yip certified him fit for light duties from July 9. The worker saw Dr Yip on July 11 and July 18 for post-surgical reviews and was similarly certified fit for light duties.

During Dr Yip's inquiry, SMC's expert said "a minimum of two weeks of sick leave should have been given at discharge with reassessment thereafter".