TCM practitioner suspended, fined after patient loses leg below knee
TCM practitioner fined, suspended for failing to give appropriate treatment
A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner was suspended for three years and fined $5,000 for failing to administer appropriate treatment that eventually cost his patient part of his left leg.
The patient, a diabetic, had gone to Mr Lee Miing Chong at Royal Acupuncture Specialist Centre in Toa Payoh in 2015, for health complaints including poor sensation in his legs.
According to a press release from the TCM Practitioners Board yesterday, during the consultation on Jan 3, Mr Lee prescribed and administered treatment using a heat lamp on the soles of both the patient's feet.
But this caused blisters to form on the soles of his feet. When he walked, the blisters burst and fluid flowed out.
The patient returned to the TCM clinic, where Mr Lee cleaned the wounds, applied medication and bandaged his feet with gauze.
That night, the patient developed a high fever, which persisted till the next day when the patient consulted Mr Lee again.
This time, he was given acupuncture and electric pulse treatment. Still, his condition did not improve.
Subsequently, the patient had to be admitted to hospital for severe burn wounds on his feet. But because of his diabetes and other health problems, the wounds on his feet worsened.
His left leg had to be amputated from the knee down.
On April 3 2017, the patient lodged a complaint with the TCM Practitioners Board against Mr Lee, alleging professional misconduct and negligence.
An investigation committee (IC) inquiry found the heat lamp treatment administered by Mr Lee was an appropriate TCM treatment for the patient's condition of general weakness and chills.
However, Mr Lee failed to explain and inform the complainant about the risks associated or other available treatment options.
He also placed the heat lamp too close to the soles of the patient's feet and for an extended period of time, causing the burns.
Given the seriousness of the patient's injuries - evident from the fluid-filled blisters - Mr Lee should have called for an ambulance, or advised the patient to seek immediate medical attention, the IC said.
Instead, he administered the acupuncture and electric impulse treatment.
In deciding the punishment, the board also took into consideration the fact that Mr Lee attempted during the inquiry to shift the blame on to the patient, as well as the "complete lack of remorse" on his part "and his fabrication of untruths during the inquiry hearing".
Mr Lee was also ordered to pay the inquiry's costs.