Ng Teng Fong General Hospital allegedly forgot to remove IV needle from patient’s arm and tell her son it’s easy to remove it himself

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The son of a patient who sought treatment at Ng Teng Fong Hospital yesterday alleged that the hospital forgot to remove an IV needle from his mother’s arm after she visited the A&E department. He added was told it would be easy to remove the needle himself when he reached home and realised what had happened.

The man, William Seah, took to Facebook to express his disappointment with the hospital. He further shared his frustration that his mother who suffered from dizziness and headaches was discharged from the A&E at 3.20am and was only able to leave the hospital at 4am after undergoing administrative processes.

To his surprise, his mother was then given an 8.45am consultation appointment with a doctor that same morning and was told to go home to rest before returning to the hospital.

When Seah questioned whether the appointment could be changed, he was told that it could not be since the doctor would only be available then. When he queried whether his mother could be warded if her condition was so serious she would need to consult with a doctor in just a few hours, he was again told no.

Posting photos of the IV needle in his mother’s arm, Seah shared on Facebook:

“First, you discharged my mother at around 3.20am with all the admin process finished by almost 4am. Without consulting us on the schedule for follow up, you “confirmed” her appointment on the same day at 8.45am! You mean my mum, who just went thru all the A&E treatment with medication, while still suffering from headaches and dizziness, had to be sent home, only to sleep/rest for less than 2 hours, and return back to hospital?
– Asked to reschedule appointment, was told “cannot” because the doctor fixed it already.
– Asked to be warded, so that she could have a good rest, also cannot.
收钱很快, 多做一点 (合理要求) 难?!!
Totally ridiculous!! If it was that urgent to come back for follow up in 5 hours time, shouldn’t she be admitted?
“Secondly, we reluctanly went home, but once reached and when my exhausted mum took off her jacket, only to realise that you left a “present” for her, in the form of needle (for IV) NOT REMOVED!! Called the hospital and was told it was easy to remove by ourselves else have to return to the hospital. My poor mum was already totally drained and still hurting, and you still require her to run up and down like being played.
“HellooOooOOo…we TRUSTED you to take care of the sick and pay the ever increasing medical fees as requested believing that we will be in good hands!! Despite the trust and medical charges, this is the kind of rubbish “professionalism” displayed?
“I would like to think otherwise but it seems like, in my opinion, the so-call medical service that you displayed shows extreme lack of empathy, appallingly unprofessional practices, perhaps because IT WAS NOT YOUR MUM that was suffering, hence the indifference.
‘NG TENG FENG GENERAL HOSPITAL, in my eyes, you are a total disappointment!!”

Seah posted his complaint on Facebook after 5am yesterday. At 7pm on the same day, he updated his post that the hospital has reached out to him and are seriously investigating the matter:

“NTFGH has reached out to me, assuring me that they are looking into this matter seriously. In all fairness, my family and I should give them the opportunity to have a complete investigation and wait for their return statement.
“At the same time, I am very appreciative of the support that everyone has provided. On behalf of my family, I want to give my most sincere thank you! 谢谢大家!”

He provided more detail in a subsequent comment after he received an outpouring of support online:

“Thank you so much everyone for the outpour of care and concern for my mum’s condition. She is doing well now and had went thru her follow up appointment in the morning. Currently all she needs is plenty of rest as the whole episode has been quite exhaustive for her.
“Despite the frustrations that me and my family went thru, in all fairness, I am deeply appreciative of the particular doctor and nurse that had provided treatment for my mum even thou it was late night. The medical remedy provided was very effective in alleviating the pain that she was suffering and prevented a worse outcome. I have to emphasize that throughout the whole process, my mum was being taken care of professionally and in comfort.
“The frustration only began during the discharge process, starting with the, in my opinion, ridiculous scheduling of the follow up appointment. Furthermore, in my eyes, little effort had been displayed to provide alternative solution to our concern, or at least a professional explanation as to why she has to return for follow up so insanely quickly. All was limited to only a simple call at the admin counter followed by “cannot”, “doctor already fixed”. Furthermore, my family and I were not consulted prior to the scheduling. Personally to me, if she was required to return so immediately, why wasn’t she warded so that she can have sufficient rest? Even if there was a vaild reason, why was not an explanation provided to us.
“My bottleneck burst when it was discovered that the cannula (medical needle) was left unremoved from my exhausted after she returned. Furthermore the fury side of me exploded when the call to the hospital resulted in an callous “solution” that it is easy to remove by ourselves before suggesting that we return to the hospital. It was worse than a template or textbook answer. Although I was also anticipating them to say “sorry” and the need to return to hospital, I was expecting at least a more sincere and caring attitude like “We are very sorry but please be careful of the needle.”, “Let her rest, be careful of the needle, return to hospital for our doctors to attend to her.”
“Yes, in a fit of complete anger I posted the earlier FB post in regards to the situation. Since my frustration has somewhat soften (still fiery) and especially my mum is feeling much better now. I felt the need to provide a more balanced view.
“I intend to write in to the quality department of NTFGH to feedback our experience. I am not looking forward to any customer service remedy or compensation even if valid, as I just hope that they can refine their SOP, policies and process so that this extremely unpleasant experience can be much improved.”

*UPDATE 9 Oct 7pm:NTFGH has reached out to me, assuring me that they are looking into this matter seriously. In all…

Posted by William Seah on Sunday, 8 October 2017

85 COMMENTS

    • Why nurse are hard to come by? Simple the top management pay them self upper world class but not willing to pay the nurse well. This is same for G , own self pay with Upper class salary, hard labor getting less then $1,200/ month , do think is fair???

    • there are two scenarios to choose from:

      1) having equitable pay for nurses, ensuring hospitals are well staffed, staff are not overworked, delivery is good BUT extra money is spent and there is no money left to innovate, to pump for R&D

      2) spending the money on innovation and R&D, making SG the destination for medical tourism, but in the meantime stretching your resources and manpower and quality of delivery is less

      from the policymaker’s perspective, sg’s healthcare cannot sustain growth by only attending to only the domestic market, which is why they have chosen option 2

  1. My Father was admitted to SGH and the nurse did not follow proper medical procedure when administering to my father. Luckily My Mom was there and she is a retired nurse. She had to teach that nurse how to do it properly. we wrote a letter of complaint but it has been 2 months and heard nothing from SGH except to say ‘we are investigating’.
    If my mom was not there, the consequences could have been quite bad

  2. This is current G system give FT doctor to be training in Singapore , we Singaporeans become their training material, only The G n their people get the real class doctor, Singaporeans pay high medical fee but get FT training doctor .

  3. Human errors so sad. Recently there are many Nurses quitting because of too much workload in every departments. Maybe the day will arrive for Singaporeans to be caregiver when our relatives or spouse are hospitalised and Nurses duties are mainly administering of medication, taking BP and task that there are trained. We really don’t know how many hours Doctors n Nurses are working in Hospitals but have heard it is really too demanding and stressful job.

  4. “NTFGH has reached out to me, assuring me that they are looking into this matter seriously. In all fairness, my family and I should give them the opportunity to have a complete investigation and wait for their return statement. At the same time, I am very appreciative of the support that everyone has provided. On behalf of my family, I want to give my most sincere thank you! 谢谢大家!”

    So easy to please. Idiot.

  5. I was admitted thrice in NTFGH, but so far, they have taken care of me very well. Most of them are young, energetic and efficient nurses. So far, I am very satisfied with NTFGH services rendered to me.

    I hope this is isolated case.

  6. This is the consequence when they are not prepared, underestimate and over stretch our infrastructure and our limited resources as they try to overcrowd our small little island. The other obvious is our MRT.

  7. Forgetting to remove IV needle is very common. I was admitted to Mount Elizabeth last year and they ignored it until a few hours later the needle was bent in my arm. The first time I asked they ignored it. The second time I asked I was told it was easy to take it out myself, and the nurse unwillingly removed it for me.

  8. human lives dun matter anymore. as long as FT doctor and nurse are willing to work for less, the public hospital will be flooded with sub standard medical personnel. BUT we are paying top $$ on the medical bill!!!! wa!! IV needle need to remove ourselves?!! what’s next?

  9. This is the result of fake degrees presented by most of EXPENSIVE foreign labourers. They cannot even compare to locals who had only o levels in work attitudes. They got employed here due to recruitment previliges granted to their bosses who are also fts.

  10. Some years ago, they discharged my late brother, even though he was medically still unfit!!!! he had diabetic complications, had recently then amputated 2 toes, had a mild stroke , bedridden etc… n yet they still discharged him! They put him in an ambulance n put him in his flat n left him unattended with NO FOLLOW UP!!!! Dam bloody UNETHICAL!!!!!
    I know it sounds fake but its the truth!!! It did happened! N hes my only brother…..He passed away… RIP my brother till we meet again … miss hanging out with u man

  11. Be prepared that they will subject her multiple times of scan and blood test analysis before they are able to diagnose what happened to her. She will need to go there at least 6 times . They will continue to suggest to check all her body , if you do not say enough, they will give you more checks. What they are interested is their KPI and money and no longer the interest of the patients.I have lost trust in our public healthcare!

  12. Don’t KPKB, lah. Hospital’s foreign doctors & nurses already so stressed & overworked, you must remind them what was that thing on your arm, dude. You allow yourself to go home with it.

    Btw, in advanced countries where the patients are more educated, they are sometimes allowed to go home with these plugs to go back to the hosp for inspection & daily antibiotics to avoid costly hosp stays.

  13. KKH gave an overdose of medication to my 14mth old nephew during his admittion because someone recorded his 9kg weight as 19kg instead.

    Yet A&E fees keep going up like nobody’s business.

  14. the ceo who earns 100000$ a month will just fire the staff who earns 1200$ a month. so all staff will work doubly hard not to get fired, but the ceo will not increase the man power so he can keep his salary

  15. This needs to be brought up to the ministry and medical board and nursing board. No excuse in health areas. Who is the Minister for Health ? And the Minister of State for Health ? Interestingly, Perm Secy are no where in sight. During LKY time, they tend to help the Ministers intending to the public.

  16. My Mother-in-law was admitted to the same hospital last Friday. Our experience so far has been positive. Both Doctors and Nurses are professional.

  17. The people voted PAP and the PAP formed the government and the government had its ministers appointed. Hey ! If this is the shit at the ground level and leadership is out of sight, what happen to the value of your votes for PAP. Is there VFM ?

  18. I STRONGLY advise not to get treated there. My son was charged by officer because its doctor wrote a letter accusing my son for feigning his injury when he went there again a few days as his knee was still hurting. While my husband was in ICU 2 of its FT doctors told me they would be removing the apparatus supporting him to let him go peacefully. We were firmly against it because his readings were improving. We were asked to leave the room on the pretext that doctors would be doing their rounds. Barely 10 minutes we were asked to return to our room. We were shocked the readings went haywire with ? marks. They had successfully done what they had intended to do. My loving husband softly left us a few minutes later. I leave The Almighty to punish those involved in the murder.

  19. This is bad. Whoever is unlucky enough to receive such shoddy and careless treatment by any hospital or clinic, do write and email the photo/s directly to the Ministry of Health, Medical Council and the hospital/clinic itself. It is irresponsible of KTPH to leave the IV needle on the patient and cover its own ass by asking the patient to remove the IV needle on his/her own. It is not a plaster for a blood test, for God’s sake.

    If the patient’s condition is deemed not serious enough to be warded, yet urgent enough to require further medical attn in only five hours (3.30am discharge time vs 8.30am doctor’s appmt on same day), the least KTPH could have done was to let her rest in the patient’s lounge or waiting area. No humane healthcare staff should give an unwell, elderly person the runaround.

  20. I don’t agree on The Admins & Nurses not enough. So stopped blame it the well pay not doing their jobs .Taking good pay put them more lazy ,HRs need to do more better managements rather siding on them . Our Singapore Pioneers & Seniors not in their eyes of care when in Hospital. Especially NTFH
    Emergency Services.Nurses not well experience on what Admissions.

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