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Surgeon suspended from practising at 4 private hospitals after losing defamation suit

SINGAPORE — A surgeon has been suspended from practising at four private Singapore hospitals after losing a defamation suit against a woman who told other doctors that he and another senior consultant took advantage of vulnerable female patients to have sex with them.

Surgeon suspended from practising at 4 private hospitals after losing defamation suit

Dr Julian Ong Kian Peng, who ran a private practice called Julian Ong Endoscopy & Surgery at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, said in a Facebook post on April 11 that he had started appeal proceedings against the outcome of the lawsuit.

SINGAPORE — A surgeon has been suspended from practising at four private Singapore hospitals after losing a defamation suit against a woman who told other doctors that he and another senior consultant took advantage of vulnerable female patients to have sex with them.

Dr Julian Ong Kian Peng, who has a private practice called Julian Ong Endoscopy & Surgery at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, had indicated that he would appeal against the outcome of his lawsuit.

In a filing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Tuesday (April 21), HC Surgical Specialists, a firm which runs various specialist medical services, said Dr Ong’s accreditation and clinical privileges had been suspended at Gleneagles, Mount Elizabeth, Mount Elizabeth Novena and Parkway East Hospitals.

However, he will still be allowed to practise at the medical services group’s heartland centres, HC Surgical Specialists said.

HC Surgical Specialists operates a network of 17 medical clinics and other facilities across Singapore, and its surgeons conduct major surgeries at two of the four hospitals from which Dr Ong has now been suspended.

Gleneagles, Mount Elizabeth, Mount Elizabeth Novena and Parkway East Hospitals are operated by Parkway Hospitals, a subsidiary of Parkway Pantai, which in turn is owned by medical services giant IHH Healthcare Berhad, which is listed in both Malaysia and Singapore.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Parkway Pantai confirmed the suspension of Dr Ong’s accreditation and clinical privileges at the four hospitals.

“He is no longer able to admit patients or use any clinical services at Gleneagles, Mount Elizabeth, Mount Elizabeth Novena and Parkway East Hospitals.

“The suspension of privileges does not extend to his activities within his clinic premises, which belongs to his private practice,” he spokesperson added. “Nonetheless, he has been asked to make arrangements to transfer the care of his existing patients to other doctors and ensure that they continue to be cared for.”

The suspension applies from Monday until and unless the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) dismisses a complaint against Dr Ong, HC Surgical Specialists said. In a separate SGX announcement on April 11, HC Surgical Specialists said that it understood the SMC complaints committee is in the process of determining the complaint.

The SMC complaint had also been lodged against the other senior consultant caught up in the defamation suit, Dr Chan Herng Nieng, a former senior consultant of psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). SGH has said that he is no longer under its employment.

TODAY has sent queries to SMC regarding the case. 

HC Surgical Specialists noted in its April 11 statement that Dr Chan does not work at the group.

The SGX announcement by the company was made by its chief executive officer Dr Heah Sieu Min. As of 6pm on Tuesday, Dr Ong was still listed on HC Surgical Specialists’ website as one of its specialist surgeons.

A brief biography said that he had been involved in the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix and “is presently the deputy chief medical officer of the event”.⁠⁠⁠

A RECAP OF THE CASE

On April 3, Dr Ong lost the lawsuit he brought in July 2018, with District Judge Lynette Yap finding that the claims made by the defendant, Ms Serene Tiong, were justified.

Ms Tiong is a business development manager at Thomson Medical Centre who had an extra-marital affair with the other doctor in question, Dr Chan, the court heard

Ms Tiong submitted a complaint against both doctors to the SMC in June, around a month after her relationship with Dr Chan ended, and forwarded it via email to a number of doctors in SGH, as well as two doctors in private practice.

The emails alleged that Dr Chan and Dr Ong had been “colluding” to take advantage of “other vulnerable woman patients” by exchanging potential patients and colleagues who were deemed easily taken advantage of to “satisfy their immoral desires”.

In the SGX filing on Tuesday, Dr Heah said that if the SMC has not dismissed the complaint by July 1, 2021, Dr Ong’s accreditation and clinical privileges at the four hospitals shall lapse.

Dr Heah added that the four hospitals had reserved the right to convene an inquiry or investigation and take further action once SMC makes its findings on Dr Ong’s professional performance and conduct.

Dr Heah, meanwhile, assured investors in the SGX announcement that the suspension of Dr Ong by the four hospitals is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated earnings per share or net tangible assets per share of HC Surgical Specialists for the current financial year ending May 31. These are widely used measures of a company’s profitability and overall financial value.

 

Related topics

court crime sexual offence Parkway Group defamation doctor

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