Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1042. Failure to keep a proper record: $5,000 fine for senior cardiothoracic surgeon

Straits Times Jun 20, 2012
I showed the article to Dr Daniel and Dr Vanessa to illustrate the importance of meticulous recording to protect against litigation.

The cardiothoracic surgeon of the National Heart Centre was fined $5,000 by the Singapore Medical Council. He was censured and to give an undertaking that he would not repeat the clincial error and pay the cost of the legal proceedings.

What he did not do:

1. Failed to keep a proper record of his discussion with a patient's operation. Fined $5,000 for professional misconduct.
2. Failed to note the patient's consent to the operation (lobectomy).
3. Needed to maintain a higher standard as a senior doctor of 22 years so as to be a role model for junior doctors.

The Committee said that keeping proper medical records is part of patient treatment and these records avoid disputes between doctor and patient. The patient had given his informed consent but the surgeon had not recorded the informed consent given in this case. This is different from not obtaining informed consent.

1. Patient to sign the informed consent form
2. Vet must record in writing that the patient has given informed consent (time, date).

The practice is usually to get the informed consent form signed by the pet owner.


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