Dr. Fined $2000 For Administering Chemo Drug Wrongly

A young doctor who administered a chemotherapy drug the wrong way, putting the patient at risk of “severe neurological damage”, has been fined S$2,000 by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC).

Dr Garuna Murthee Kavitha, 32, had given the drug intrathecally, or into the membrane of the spinal cord, when she should have fed it intravenously to the patient.

The error stemmed from the ward sending the wrong medicine, which Dr Kavitha did not check, the SMC’s disciplinary tribunal heard on April 21. She pleaded guilty to the charge.

In mitigation, the lawyer acting for Dr Kavitha, who was practising as a Medical Officer at Singapore General Hospital, said the error was unintentional and stressed that she had disclosed the error immediately.

She also never shied away from accepting responsibility and was a very young doctor who had learnt from this incident, her lawyer added. In contrast, previous similar cases saw more senior doctors being involved, while the errors took longer to detect before the patient was informed, and even medical records had been tampered with.

Testimonials from Dr Kavitha’s superiors and colleagues, as well as feedback from the family of another patient were also submitted during the hearing.

While it noted the “strong” testimonials attested to Dr Kavitha’s work ethic and integrity, as well as her Best Medical Officer award by SingHealth in 2013, the SMC’s disciplinary tribunal said a censure alone was inappropriate. It would not “reflect the seriousness of the conduct, nor would it deter such lapses or preserve public confidence in the medical profession”, it added.

The disciplinary tribunal also censured Dr Kavitha and asked her for a written undertaking that she would not repeat the same conduct, as well as for her to bear the costs and expenses of the inquiry.


Source: www.todayonline.com

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