SINGAPORE: A doctor accused of molesting a patient took the stand for the defence on Thursday (Aug 22) and called the allegations "outrageous" and "ridiculous".
Dr Lui Weng Sun, 46, said that he did not recall seeing the 24-year-old Vietnamese woman at all, as he had many patients that day.
He had claimed trial on Monday to one charge of molesting her. The charge was amended on Thursday and he is now accused of turning the woman's left bra cup outwards before placing a stethoscope on her breast and touching her nipple with his finger.
To this new charge, Dr Lui said: "I definitely did not do it. This is outrageous. I would never molest patients."
The married man and father of three said he graduated in 1999 from the National University of Singapore's medical school and was posted to government hospitals before going into private practice.
He worked as a resident doctor at Northeast Medical Group clinic at Block 39 Jalan Tiga at the time of the incident, and spent half his time at another clinic in Dawson.
The incident happened on a Monday, which was the busiest time of the week for the clinic, said Dr Lui.
"Usually, people do not want to see doctors on the weekend because the fees are higher, the opening hours are shorter," said the doctor. "Most people will come on Mondays for medical treatment, medical certificates etc."
DAY OF INCIDENT THE BUSIEST DAY OF THE WEEK
He estimated that he saw 10 patients per hour on Mondays between 8am and 1pm and again on his afternoon shift from 2pm to 5pm.
The woman entered the clinic at 2.42pm on Nov 6, 2017, after Dr Lui had seen 47 patients in the morning.
"I do not recall seeing her in the medical room," said the doctor. "There was nothing extraordinary about her, so I do not recall anything about the consultation."
Videos from the clinic show the woman registering and waiting before entering the consultation room, but there is no footage of what happened inside.
"I cannot remember anything about her," said Dr Lui in response to questioning by District Judge Jasvender Kaur. "There were 70 patients that day, effectively 47 before her. Same symptoms, same complaints, there was nothing distinctive about the patient. I can't remember the patient at all."
However, the doctor had taken clinical notes of his session with her. She had complained in Mandarin of a cough, running nose, sore throat and loss of voice, among other symptoms.
He wrote in his notes that she had a low-grade fever of 37.9 degrees Celsius, with a slightly red throat, and prescribed her medication and gave her two days' medical leave.
VICTIM'S ACCOUNT OF EVENTS
Defence lawyer Shashi Nathan cited from the woman's testimony, which she had given earlier this week behind closed doors, saying Dr Lui had examined her back with his stethoscope, before asking her to turn around for him to examine the front.
The woman said the doctor examined only the left side of her chest, over her clothes and above the breast, but Dr Lui said he would usually listen to two points or areas.
"It's not logical to only listen to one point," he said. "It would usually be 1cm to 2cm below the collarbone, nothing lower than that."
When asked about the woman's claim that he placed a stethoscope only on her left side, Dr Lui said: "That would sound medically absurd. I would not just listen to one side, I would listen to two sides."
After this, the doctor is accused of lifting her shirt over her chest area, but quickly pulled it down when interrupted by a clinic assistant.
According to the patient, the doctor later lifted her shirt again when left to themselves and placed his stethoscope on her breast area before placing it directly on her left nipple.
"That definitely did not happen," said Dr Lui. "There are no medical reasons to put a stethoscope on anyone's nipple, and during medical training, we are told to avoid the nipple as much as possible, because it's a very sensitive area."
Nipples are examined only during specialised breast examinations, he added.
"She says after you did this, you removed the stethoscope from her nipple, then used your index finger. You pointed at the nipple, then you made contact, pressing her nipple in," said Mr Nathan.
"I definitely, definitely would not do such a ridiculous thing," said the doctor.
He also explained that he did not usually ask female clinic assistants to enter the consultation room when there was no need for intimate examinations of female patients.
After the consultation, the woman left the clinic. Dr Lui was at a night session at the Dawson clinic when he received a call from a nurse saying a patient was unhappy, and spoke to the woman's boyfriend before calling him back after his night shift ended.
"It was a very long conversation. He accused me of touching the patient but he never specified or gave details on what kind of contact it was," said Dr Lui.
"He did mention things like - I don't know about you doctors, you have money and lawyers, and (I'm) also afraid of threatening you. He said things like - to me, this is a small matter, but to you, it's a very big matter."
BOYFRIEND SAID HE WANTED ACCOUNTING OR COMPENSATION: DR LUI
"He kept saying he wanted a 'jiao dai', a Chinese word for an accounting, but in colloquial Mandarin, it also sounds like a request for compensation," said Dr Lui.
He said he had no idea why the woman would lie, or why the boyfriend would say that the doctor did those things.
The boyfriend, now 44, later made a police report with his girlfriend.
Dr Lui said he is no longer practising at Northeast Medical Group clinic in Kallang as the other clinic owners asked him to leave after his arrest in order to preserve its reputation.
He said he now spends half his time at the Dawson clinic and the rest working at other clinics as a locum or stand-in for a doctor, which has caused him some hardship with lower pay, erratic travelling and no steady jobs.
"I don't know why the patient accused me of such ridiculous acts," said Dr Lui. "I would never do such a thing anywhere. The place is so open, I am so busy, I have no time to think of anything other than clearing patients and going home, so I do not know why she has made such ridiculous allegations."
The judge adjourned the trial after the defence completed its examination of Dr Lui. A second tranche will be fixed at a later date.
If found guilty of using criminal force to outrage the woman's modesty, he could be jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of such penalties.
The Singapore Medical Council said in response to queries from CNA that it is aware of the case. It said it will await the court's judgement, including sentencing if any, before considering whether to take disciplinary action against Dr Lui.