Singapore—A netizen by the name of Cheryl Tan posted on Thursday (August 13) on the Complaint Singapore Facebook page, claiming that her mother died because of negligence and improper post-operation care at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). She also asked readers to share her post to generate awareness of the problem.
Ms Tan claimed that her 70-year-old mother had been confined at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) in July of this year, as her heart valves were not functioning well as well as for irregular heart rhythm. Tests were conducted on the elderly lady, and it was found that she indeed had two heart valves that were not working properly, and was given medication for this condition.
According to Ms Tan, the doctor at TTSH suggested that her mother see a specialist at either SGH or National University Hospital (NUH), as there are not many cardiologists at TTSH.
At SGH, where the family decided to take their mother, the heart specialist suggested that the mother undergo “heart surgery to repair one heart valve and replace (another) heart valve,” after the mother had been on medication for several months.
The surgery, which had been scheduled for March, was postponed to July due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Tan’s mother was warded at SGH on July 20 and had surgery on July 22. However, on the day after the surgery, her mother’s kidneys started to fail, causing her to require dialysis. Ms Tan wrote, “As the heart surgeon has mentioned earlier that it is a Low-risk surgery, the risk of complications is only 1%. We couldn’t believe that such thing would happen to my mother.”
After the operation, the surgeon who had operated on her mother went on medical leave for five days because of a fever. Additionally, the “back up (doctor) did not react on time when various complications took place after the surgery,” Ms Tan added.
On July 24, Ms Tan’s mother went into a coma. By then, her liver function had also been affected, she had turned yellow, and her blood pressure had dropped. Five days afterward, the mother required an amputation of her right leg, as it had gotten damaged because of poor blood flow.
Ms Tan’s mother’s condition continued to worsen, to the point that by August 5 she needed another surgery to control internal bleeding. But the elderly lady was so weak already that there was a “90% risk that she will pass away on the operation table. If don’t operate, she will also die.”
Before the family could decide on the operation, Ms Tan’s mother died at 11:00 pm on August 6.
Ms Tan wrote that SGH told the family that the cause of the mother’s death would be listed as unknown as the doctors could not give the reason why she died.
“They will get the police officers and investigating officer to check with family members on my mother’s medical history and the medication that she took daily to make sure that it was not a foul play. We find it so ridiculous because she was in the hospital for the past 2 weeks plus,” she added.
“We couldn’t believe this kind of thing is happening in a hospital in Singapore. This is SGH. The hospital do not want to provide explanation or hold any responsibility for the death of the patient due to their negligence. They just brushed everything away and said that they are sorry about my mother’s case. They have never encountered similar case before,” Ms Tan wrote.
Ms Tan’s post has been shared over 180 times as Thursday afternoon, with netizens chiming in that they had experienced similar situations to what Ms Tan had gone through.
She also shared the same post on her personal page.
TISG reached out to SGH regarding Ms Tan’s mother’s demise. SGH told us via email that Ms Tan’s mother had received medical treatment at National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), and not at SGH.
A spokesperson for NHCS told TISG, “We have reached out to Ms Cheryl Tan and conveyed our deepest condolences to her and the family. Due to patient’s confidentiality, we are unable to share more information about the case. We are in contact with the family to offer our support to them during this difficult time.”
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