Affected Patients From KTPH Misdiagnosis Will Get Full Refund

It’s hard to fathom the range of emotions that one goes through when diagnosed with a serious illness.

So when news broke in December that at least 200 patients at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) received false-positive results for an aggressive form of breast cancer, it naturally sparked outrage.

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To make matters worse, about half of the patients underwent unnecessary treatment that reportedly cost tens of thousands each.

KTPH Says 180 Breast Cancer Patients May Have Got Wrong Results, CEO Apologises To Those Affected

On Monday (4 Jan), Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Koh Poh Koon assured patients who received the treatment that they will be fully refunded.

Treatment administered has side effects

In early December last year, KTPH revealed that about 180 patients were wrongly diagnosed with HER-2 breast cancer.

Of these patients, more than half received unnecessary treatment following their diagnosis.

The most common targeted treatment administered was the drug Herceptin.

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There were, however, side effects to the HER-2 treatment. Mild ones include diarrhoea, chills, and fatigue, while heart problems could also arise in about 3-4% of patients, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

Review of care plans for affected patients

Following more reviews, Dr Koh said on Monday (4 Jan) that 200 patients have been reclassified from HER-2 positive to negative as of 23 Dec 2020.

According to The Straits Times (ST), doctors are helping affected patients assess any side effects from the treatment.

To adequately assist affected patients, joint care teams have also been formed comprising surgeons, histopathologists, and oncologists from the hospital.

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Mental health support might also be supported financially, subject to each individual.

KTPH will refund cost of unnecessary treatments

Speaking in Parliament, Dr Koh assured that costs arising from unnecessary treatments will be fully refunded to patients.

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The amount refunded to each patient is dependent on factors such as the length of treatment and which hospital they visited.

According to ST, each patient administered the Herceptin drug treatment would have racked up bills of $50,000-$70,000 in a government-run hospital.

Of the patients, 8 received treatment at private hospitals.

The refunds will likely total up to millions, reports ST.

KTPH has also offered clinical and financial support for affected patients going through ongoing or follow-up treatment due to the initial over-treatment.

Review committee to evaluate an incident

The National Healthcare Group has since formed an independent review committee to properly evaluate the incident.

This panel seeks to identify system gaps and prevent recurrence of such incidents.

The committee will also recommend measures to improve the process, reported CNA.

According to TODAY, KTPH will be reassessing all results since 2012 – when the HER-2 test was first conducted – as an added precaution.

Hope patients will have a smooth recovery

This unfortunate incident has probably caused great emotional turmoil for affected patients.

We’re glad KTPH is stepping up and properly ensuring that the patients now get the compensation as well as the care required.

Hopefully, in time to come, patients will be able to smoothly continue on their recovery journey, with no serious adverse effects.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook.