SINGAPORE: A doctor who filmed a nurse while she was using a toilet has been suspended from practice for four months by a disciplinary tribunal.
Dr Lum Yang Wei placed his mobile phone under the door of a handicapped toilet at a hospital and filmed the nurse on Feb 19, 2016, said the tribunal's grounds of decision on Thursday (Jul 2).
He took the video while the nurse was relieving herself, causing her to panic, said the tribunal. She remained hidden in the toilet for a period of time because she was afraid the person filming her was still in the area, it added.
Dr Lum later admitted to the police that he had taken two videos of the victim on that day. He also said that he started taking such videos during his previous job at another hospital.
Dr Lum was charged on May 29, 2017, with insulting the woman’s modesty and later sentenced to six weeks’ jail.
He completed his housemanship on Feb 28, 2019 after his release from prison and was offered employment at a hospital, pending the tribunal’s outcome.
During the disciplinary hearing, the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said the offence committed by Dr Lum was “a serious one” that had “wider consequences”, such as the erosion of public confidence on the medical profession.
Mr Julian Tay and Mr Anthony Wong, counsels for Dr Lum, said he was remorseful and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. Dr Lum has also voluntarily embarked on a “regime of treatment and rehabilitation”.
In considering a fine, the tribunal said it acknowledged the trauma the victim felt and had to endure.
“The demeaning impact of Dr Lum’s act cannot be understated, nor glossed over,” the grounds read.
Based on the punishment meted out in other cases, the tribunal said the offence committed by Dr Lum was “not to the degree and extent” that it would warrant him being struck off the medical register.
It found that Dr Lum has displayed “regret and remorse” and that he had been willing to obtain psychiatric and professional help.
He has the support of “his peers and superiors in the medical fraternity”, the tribunal said, adding that he also has “family and church support”.
“There are thus conditions conducive to the potential that Dr Lum can, one day, resume contributing to society as a doctor again,” the grounds said.
“It is also clear the medical fraternity has no issues reintegrating Dr Lum into its wings again because of his potential as a competent and productive medical practitioner. This would then be a suitable case to offer the doctor a second shot at his medical career,” the tribunal added.
Besides a suspension of four months, Dr Lum will be censured and has to give a “written undertaking” that he will not engage in such misconduct again. He will also have to pay costs of the proceedings, including the costs of solicitors to the Singapore Medical Council.