SINGAPORE: Recently, a member of the public took to Facebook to share a distressing experience she and her father had at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
on Monday (8 Jan), Teri T Tan took to her Facebook account to express her dissatisfaction with the doctors at SGH, specifically the junior residents, whom she accused of lacking competence and using her father as a “guinea pig for their training and experiments.”
During her father’s stay at SGH, she discovered numerous needle holes, bruises, and swelling on his left hand, and later encountered a similar issue with the right hand.
When she requested an explanation from the resident doctor in charge, he allegedly left the hospital without providing one.
Additionally, the senior doctor, purportedly a director, reportedly turned a blind eye and refused all contact with the patient’s family despite numerous requests.
SGH has since apologized for the incident, explained the bruises on the patient’s hands, and acknowledged a breakdown in communication regarding the family’s request to speak to a senior doctor.
Ms Tan’s disturbing account of bruises on father’s hand raises alarming questions about SGH procedures
According to Ms Tan, the senior doctor entrusted her father’s care entirely to the resident doctors in the respiratory department, leaving him in their hands.
Ms Tan highlighted that her father was accommodated in an A1 single room, with all expenses fully covered and paid by them, emphasizing that his stay was not on charitable grounds.
Accompanying the post were several photos of her father’s bruised hand, displaying multiple insertion wounds dated 2nd, 4th, and 8th December 2023, just days before her father passed away on 10th December.
In the Facebook post, Ms Tan shared troubling details about discovering bruises on her father’s hand.
The ordeal began on 23 November 2023, when Ms Tan found her father’s left hand covered in needle holes, appearing bruised and swollen.
Her domestic helper, who was present in the room, allegedly witnessed SGH staff repeatedly inserting and removing needles, seemingly unsure of the correct spot for blood collection.
The nurse later stated that these procedures were carried out by the doctor on duty, not the nurses themselves, promising to identify the responsible doctor.
On 2 December 2023, Ms Tan was shocked to find her father’s right hand also bruised and swollen.
The staff nurse confirmed that the resident doctor was responsible for the injuries.
Ms Tan immediately requested to see the doctor, but after waiting for 40 minutes, she learned that the resident doctor had already left for the day, avoiding accountability.
Expressing disbelief, Ms Tan questioned SGH’s tolerance of such irresponsibility and incompetence among its doctors and nurses.
She criticized the hospital for allowing the senior doctor to turn a blind eye to her family’s concerns while junior doctors practised on patients, treating them as guinea pigs.
“Rich or poor, every patient should be treated with dignity and respect.”
“This unfortunate experience has definitely shattered all confidence we ever had of SGH,” said Ms Tan.
SGH faces scrutiny and calls for accountability as netizens share concerns over medical incidents and delayed responses
In response to Ms Tan’s story, SGH commented on Ms Tan’s Facebook post and expressed their deepest condolences on the loss of her father.
They assured her that they would investigate the feedback provided.
However, SGH mentioned that they couldn’t verify Ms Tan’s late father’s full name and NRIC number.
To address the issue, they requested Ms Tan to email her father’s details along with her contact information to SGH’s email.
Responding to SGH’s FB comments, a netizen who had undergone a similar experience as Ms Tan voiced her frustration with the hospital’s delayed response to customer feedback.
She urged SGH to promptly address each feedback rather than leaving individuals hanging.
The netizen also called for accountability, requesting the hospital to apologize for any mistakes made by their medical professionals.
Another netizen shared a similar experience, recounting an incident where their grandmother passed away at SGH due to junior residents inserting the wrong medication into the IV drip bag.
This individual expressed concern about SGH being akin to a laboratory for newcomers.
A different netizen, tagging the Ministry of Health Singapore, expressed anger at the apparent incompetence and unprofessionalism in the training of doctors, both senior and junior.
He emphasized the importance of preventing such incidents from happening in any hospital to ensure the safety of patients, particularly their parents in the future.
SGH offers apology and clarification in response to concerns over patient’s bruised hands
SGH has since issued a statement on its official Facebook page on Wednesday (10 Jan) evening to address the issue.
Associate Professor Loo Chian Min, Chairman of the Division of Medicine at SGH, issued an apology and clarification regarding Ms Teri Tan’s concerns about her late father’s bruised hands.
Expressing condolences to the family for their loss, he explained that when Ms Tan attempted to speak with the resident doctor on 2 December 2023, he had already completed his shift.
He later called her but couldn’t connect, reaching the patient’s nominated spokesperson, his wife, that evening to explain the hand bruises.
Assoc Prof Loo clarified that elderly patients or those on certain medications may have fragile skin and thin veins.
“This makes blood taking difficult and can lead to bruising as several attempts may be required even though our staff are competent in performing the procedure. ”
The hospital appreciated the understanding of the patient’s wife, who accepted the explanation and apology.
“We respect our patients who entrust their care in us. We are appreciative that the patient’s wife was understanding and accepted our explanation and apology for the discomfort caused.”
SGH acknowledged a failure in conveying the family’s request to speak with a senior doctor and assured Ms Tan that the patient received care from an experienced team.
“We would like to assure Ms Tan and her family that the patient was looked after by an experienced care team, who was constantly updating the patient’s wife throughout his stay with us. ”
The hospital concluded by stating they had privately reached out to Ms Tan and the patient’s wife to address the matter.
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