Dr Devathasan's recent run in with the Singapore Medical Council is being watched with great interest. Although the details are scanty, and the SMC proceedings are not publicly available, you can read about the case here and here.
It is also interesting as one of the chief complainant is apparently a 'professional rival'. Dr Devathasan was supposed to have offered an unproven therapeutic option to a 77 year old woman. Remember Para 4.1.4 of the SMC ethical guideline?
A number of questions need answers:
a] How does the SMC decide if a therapy is 'unproven'. I have pointed out in previous postings that many doctors offer unproven therapies, in the form of off-label prescribing of drugs, various untrialed medical devices etc. Why was Dr Devathasan singled out?
b] What would constitute a 'proven' therapy? How many trials and what quality of trials are needed?
c] What do we do about Tradition and Complementary Medicine practitioners who are free to make outlandish claims and offer a host of unproven therapies..... some of which may be actually 'endorsed' by the Minister of Health. So if TCM practitioners are championed because they offer unproven options which 'complement' proven western remedies, why is it wrong for Dr Devathasan to do so?
I am all in favour of a greater level of scrutiny of how doctors behave, but SMC need to show it has a rational system in place, and not just engage in random cherry picking of cases to prosecute.
5 years ago