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Doctor At Yishun Clinic Performs CPR On Seated Patient Who Later Dies, Suspended 3 Months

Doctor Fails To Make Seated Patient Lie Down Before Performing CPR

Doctors are trusted to know exactly what to do in a medical emergency so that the person they treat has the highest chance of survival.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of malpractice, leading to tragic outcomes. One such example was the case of a Brazilian doctor who reportedly decapitated a baby during delivery.

Recently, a doctor in Singapore was suspended for failing to make a patient lie down before administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him.

The patient, who had fainted after suffering a cardiac arrest, passed away a week later.

Patient suffered cardiac arrest while seeing doctor for breathlessness

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Dr Ho Tze Woon was a stand-in doctor at the Central 24-Hr Clinic in Yishun at the time of the incident.

On 14 Jan 2017, he saw a patient who was complaining of breathlessness.

Dr Ho examined the patient and determined that the latter was experiencing an asthma attack.

He then instructed an assistant to administer treatment with a nebuliser, a machine that turns liquid medicine into an inhalable mist.

In the middle of the treatment, the patient suddenly went into cardiac arrest and passed out.

Instead of making the patient lie down first, Dr Ho performed CPR on him while the man was still seated.


The patient was later conveyed to the hospital. However, he died the following week.

Doctor charged with failing to make patient lie down before CPR

The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) later charged Dr Ho under the Medical Registration Act for failing to provide professional services of the expected quality.

It pointed out that failing to move the patient into a supine position from a seated one demonstrated “a failure to meet the minimum standards of acceptable care by medical practitioners”.

After a disciplinary tribunal found him guilty, Dr Ho was initially given a nine-month suspension, which he appealed against.

Court of Three Judges cuts down suspension to 3 months

On Monday (7 Aug), his appeal was heard before the Court of Three Judges.

During the hearing, Dr Ho’s attorney argued that the situation was “a perfect storm” as the patient had a cardiac arrest in a small, narrow treatment room.

Thus, the doctor’s actions were “reasonable” due to the space constraints. Furthermore, Dr Ho had no training in patient transfer.

However, Justice Steven Chong disagreed, noting that Dr Ho should have known that one needs “maximum compression” for CPR to be effective.

Source: Martin Splitt on Unsplash, for illustration purposes only

This won’t be achieved if the patient is in a seated position.

Chia Voon Jiet, who represented SMC, added that not only was Dr Ho trained in CPR, but he had also witnessed and attended to many similar cases.

He said that Dr Ho failed to perform “the very basic step in CPR”, which was to make the patient lie down.

Mr Chia also said that with four people in the clinic at the time of the incident, there were more than enough hands to help move the patient.

In the end, the Court of Appeal reduced the suspension to three months, TODAY reported.

They said that they would provide their full reasons for doing so at a later date.

Previously fined & suspended for other offences

This isn’t the first time Dr Ho has gotten into trouble for his actions.

In 2021, The Straits Times (ST) reported that he was given a five-month suspension and a S$2,000 fine for attempting to sell an erectile dysfunction drug to a man who wasn’t his patient.

Dr Ho also allegedly downloaded pornographic materials onto the computers in six consultation rooms at Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic between October 2014 and July 2016.

TODAY reported that the National Healthcare Group fired Dr Ho for the latter offence.

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Featured image by MS News.

Tammi Tan

Tammi loves the colour pink but wears a lot of black. She can often be found enjoying tiny house tours on YouTube or rewatching Christopher Nolan and Marvel films.

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