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India-born doctor charged in Singapore’s first case of doctor causing patient’s death due to rash act

Haridass is accused of prescribing 10 tablets of methotrexate - a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant - to a patient without arranging for the patient to undergo the necessary tests eventually resulting in his death

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75-year-old medical doctor Haridass Ramdass, a naturalised Singaporean born in India, is reportedly involved in Singapore’s first case of a doctor causing death by a rash act under Section 304A(a) of the Penal Code after he was charged in the Singapore’s State Courts with causing the death of a patient, allegedly through pills he had prescribed.

According to The New Paper, Haridass graduated with a medical degree from the Karnataka University in India in 1971 and has been a general practitioner for 44 years. At the time of the incident, he practised medicine at Tekka Clinic Surgery in Chander Road in Little India.

Haridass is accused of prescribing 10 tablets of methotrexate – a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant – to a patient without arranging for the patient to undergo the necessary tests before prescribing the medication.

The case has led some to wonder whether foreign doctors are improperly trained.

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The court heard that 28-year-old Indian national Savarimuthu Arul Xavier visited Haridass’ clinic on 24 Nov 2014 and was given an injection of dexamethasone and prescribed methotrexate, prednisolone and chlorpheniramine. Mr Xavier, who was
told to take one of each medication, twice a day died a mere 16 days later.

According to Haridass’ charge, the methotrexate Mr Xavier was prescribed was not in line with established guidelines. Prescribing methotrexate to Mr Xavier is said to have caused the patient to develop neutropenia – a condition when the body does not have enough neutrophils or white blood cells to fight infections.

The charge states that the prescription of the pills to Mr Xavier is a “rash act” since the patient developed mucositis and contracted “an invasive fungal infection” that led to his death.

Haridass is out on S$10,000 bail and will return to court in two weeks time. If he is convicted of causing death by a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide, he may face up to five years’ jail and/or a fine. -/TISG

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