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Indian doctor fined for professional misconduct in Singapore

Writing a prescription or medical examination notes

Singapore: A 32-year-old Indian-origin doctor in Singapore has been fined Singapore dollars 2,000 for administrating a chemotherapy drug to a cancer patient in wrong way at a hospital here in 2012.

The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said Dr Garuna Murthee Kavitha injected the chemotherapy drug into the patient’s spinal canal, rather than a vein. This could have caused the patient severe neurological damage, the Straits Times reported today.

In deciding on the sentence, the SMC’s disciplinary tribunal took into consideration the fact that Kavitha, noticed the error immediately and she did not avoid responsibility.

It also noted that the ward at the Singapore General Hospital, where she was working at the time, had given her the wrong medicine which she did not check.

The doctor-in-charge ordered two chemotherapy drugs to be administered to the man who was admitted for a cancer relapse.

The drugs, Velcade was to be given intravenously and Methotrexate was to be injected into the spinal canal.

Kavitha, who was there to treat the patient, took the only syringe of Velcade in the room and injected into the man’s spinal canal without checking the chemotherapy form which stated the medication should be injected into a vein.

On realising her mistake, she immediately called the senior doctor-in-charge.

In a statement released yesterday, SMC said it took note of the fact that Dr Kavitha was a young medical officer at the time. Her superiors, colleagues and the family of another of her patients testified to her strong work ethic and sense of responsibility.

The SMC’s tribunal found her guilty of one charge of professional misconduct in April.

Statting the grounds of decision, the SMC said a financial settlement was made between the doctor, the hospital and the family members of the patient who had since died.

“We would like to reassure our patients that we have since reinforced our processes to prevent such a case occurring in future,” said SGH medical board chairman Professor Fong Kok Yong.

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