SINGAPORE: A gynaecologist who removed a woman's left ovary without her knowledge has been fined S$10,000 and suspended from practising for eight months, said the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) on Tuesday (Nov 14).
Dr Jen Shek Wei's appeal against disciplinary action by the SMC was dismissed by the Court of Three Judges, which said that the doctor showed a "lack of care" in the way he treated his patient. He also has to bear the legal costs of the hearing and will be censured by the council.
Dr Jen, 62, had removed the patient's left ovary during a surgery he performed on her in August 2010, SMC said. She claimed that she signed a blank consent form for the surgery, according to court documents.
The words "open left oophorectomy" - meaning the removal of the left ovary - were filled in after she signed the form, and she was also not told what the word meant, she testified.
The patient, then 34, thought that a mass in her ovary had been removed and was shocked to discover eight months later that her left ovary was missing. She found out after consulting another doctor about a pregnancy. She later miscarried.
Dr Jen was found guilty of two charges of professional misconduct in a disciplinary tribunal inquiry held last year: That he advised the patient to remove the mass without proper evaluation; and that he removed her left ovary without obtaining her informed consent.
The inquiry found that the surgery should not have been performed at all. It also noted that Dr Jen's medical records were unclear and he "appeared indifferent to the patient's welfare".
"Dr Jen did not show any remorse over the removal of the patient's left ovary and fallopian tube for a benign condition, and had even callously suggested that he had improved her fertility," SMC said.
His appeal against the tribunal's decision, filed in January, was dismissed by the court on Tuesday.
The court also said that the suspension of eight months was "on the low side" and a suspension of 16 months was justified.
"Even if that term of suspension was halved on account of the delay in prosecution, the suspension would remain at eight months," the court noted.