Singapore

CGH to pay over $326,000 to late cancer patient’s estate

Changi General Hospital (CGH) has been ordered to pay the estate of Ms Noor Azlin Abdul Rahman $326,620, as well as interest at 5.33 per cent, plus legal costs of $105,000 for the delay in diagnosis that caused her relapse and death from lung cancer at age 39.

She died five weeks after the Court of Appeal in 2019 found in her favour. Her estate sought $13.46 million in damages while the hospital offered $20,800.

Ms Noor Azlin had gone for treatment at CGH and X-rays of her lungs were taken in 2010 and 2011.

Both times, the radiologist recommended follow-up consultation, but this did not happen.

By the time she was again referred to the hospital by a doctor from Raffles Medical Clinic, her tumour had grown. In spite of treatment, her cancer progressed and she died on April 1, 2019.

FAILURE

The Court of Appeal's judgment in February that year said: "But for CGH's failure to diagnose her in July 2011... we find it unlikely that the lung cancer would have progressed to Stage IIA before resection.

"It was more likely than not that she would not have suffered from nodal metastasis and any consequences that may follow."

By the time her appeal was heard, the cancer had already spread to her brain.

Before the assessment of damages that was released by the High Court yesterday, her estate was awarded an interim payment of $200,000 in September 2019. CGH failed three times to prevent this last year.

In deciding on the amount, Justice Belinda Ang said shortcomings in the estate's claims "have impacted the damages recoverable".

As examples, she said "no evidence has been led on Ms Azlin's expected full life expectancy'' and that "no justification has been given for the calculation" of her medical expenses post-trial.

And "a pleaded claim for loss of earnings has been retained when it should have been changed to a claim for loss of inheritance".

The amount sought by her estate was also far higher than the $6.7 million Ms Noor Azlin had originally claimed.

Justice Ang said since Ms Noor Azlin had died, the claims for loss of future medical expenses, transport costs, take-home earnings and Central Provident Fund, and cost of nursing care had all dwindled.

The higher claim "is ostensibly making up for this shortfall", the judge added, describing it "as simply contrived in the absence of supporting evidence, among other things".

COURT & CRIME