Public servant sues Tan Tock Seng Hospital, doctors over mother's death after cardiac arrest

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SINGAPORE: The son of a 74-year-old woman who died after a cardiac arrest in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has sued the hospital and three of its doctors for S$800,000.

The High Court trial that started on Monday (Aug 15) will look into whether medical negligence contributed to the death of Mdm Tan Yaw Lan.

Her son, the plaintiff Mr Chia Soo Kiang, 47, is represented by Mr Clarence Lun and Mr Cheston Ow of Fervent Chambers.

His case is that the defendants' negligent misdiagnosis and medical treatment caused Mdm Tan to suffer a serious cardiac arrest on Apr 23, 2018.

Mdm Tan collapsed after being showered by a nursing intern that day, and fell into a coma. Her condition deteriorated and she died of ischaemic heart disease and pneumonia on May 13, 2018.

Aside from TTSH, Dr Dorai Raj D Appadorai - the on-call consultant when Mdm Tan was admitted - and Dr Lee Wei Sheng and Dr Ranjana Acharya - who reviewed Mdm Tan the morning after she was admitted - are also being sued.

The hospital and its doctors are represented by a team of lawyers from Dentons Rodyk & Davidson led by Ms Mar Seow Hwei. Their case is that Mdm Tan was cared for and advised appropriately at all times.

Mr Chia, a public servant, was the first to take the stand on Monday. He gave evidence on his mother's prior medical condition and her subsequent collapse and death.

TREATMENT PLAN WITHHELD HEART MEDICATIONS

Mdm Tan's past medical conditions included diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, ischaemic heart disease, chronic kidney disease and anaemia, according to a history taken in April 2018.

She developed a fever, cough and lethargy and was admitted to TTSH on Apr 20, 2018.

A doctor diagnosed her with sepsis complicated by type two myocardial infarction and clotting impairment, anaemia and acute chronic kidney disease.

She was placed on a treatment plan that withheld her primary heart medications of aspirin, losartan and furosemide.

The lawsuit alleged that Dr Dorai failed to advise and obtain Mdm Tan's informed consent before approving the withdrawal of her primary heart medications, which elevated her risk of suffering a cardiac arrest.

The "least" Dr Dorai could have done was to inform Mdm Tan's family of the intended treatment plan, but this was not done, said the plaintiff.

The plaintiff also accused Dr Dorai of failing to treat her heart condition appropriately by ordering or all...

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