SINGAPORE – A doctor who has been arrested for sedating, molesting and taking pictures of his semi-naked patient will no longer be able to practice when released from prison.
Aesthetic physician Tan Kok Leong, 53, was expelled by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) after a disciplinary court found that he had administered narcotics drugs with the criminal intent of committing harassment.
He had taken the patient back to a hotel and injected him with two drugs – a painkiller and a sedative – before molesting him and taking pictures of himself doing it.
According to the grounds of the council's decision released on Tuesday (June 18), Tan had "cynically exploited his knowledge and access to restricted drugs to facilitate his own nefarious criminal intent, with total disrespect to the risk to the patient's health ".
The SMC described the case as "unprecedented," given the number of charges that Tan was convicted of, the serious nature of the offenses and the daring with which they were committed.
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PATIENT WITH MOLES AFTER TWO LIPOTION PROCEDURES
Tan had performed a liposuction procedure on his patient at the Life Source Medical Center at Novena Medical Center on June 6, 2013, during which he molested the victim while he was undergoing the procedure.
During this time, two clinical assistants witnessed Tan placing his hand under the surgical drape and touching the patient's genitals.
One assistant was so disgusted she left the room "in anger" because she "did not want to see more," the court said. During this time, the victim's fiancee, who was also a physician, was in the room, but did not detect Tan's actions because he administered an injection into the patient's nose.
About a month later, on July 5, Tan performed another liposuction on the patient. He told the patient that he had booked a hotel room at the Oasia Hotel for the patient to "recover".
Around 11 pm Tan injected the victim with an "amazing drug" and an analgesic. After the patient fell asleep, Tan stripped him, touched the victim's genitals, and took pictures of himself.
The two men stayed in the hotel room until the following day, when Tan again administered the same drugs to the victim. He repeated his actions that night.
During his trial, the court was informed by an expert that it was improper to sedate a patient in a nonclinical environment.
In total, Tan has stored 21 patient photos, labeled with his name, on his cell phone. Some of these photos captured the patient's face, along with his exposed genitals.
"These photographs were taken without the consent or knowledge of the patient," wrote the council in its foundations. Tan never showed the patient the photos, and the photos only surfaced after Tan's partner, in his medical practice, appeared in them.
"DEFECT IN CHARACTER"
Tan was sentenced to 42 months in prison in 2016, before his arrest was extended to 54 months in 2017, after prosecutors filed an appeal.
He also faced charges made by the SMC after being convicted of offenses.
"His actions go beyond the limit and reveal a character defect that leaves us in no doubt that the respondent is not fit to be a doctor," the court wrote to SMC in its findings.
Despite being found guilty in court, Tan "refused to plead guilty (to SMC charges) because he wanted to maintain his position that he was innocent of the charges." This was though he confirmed through his lawyers that he did not intend to contest any of the council's allegations.
More than two years after his conviction, on December 3, 2018, Tan finally admitted to the court that he had "exhausted all possible avenues to claim himself" and would no longer raise any arguments for the charges.
In its ruling, the board said removal of a doctor's name from the medical record is the most severe penalty and should not be imposed lightly.
"It is axiomatic that patients place their physical and body integrity in the trust and care of their physician," the court said.
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"Any breach of this trust brings irreparable damage to the reputation and good standing of the medical profession as a whole.
"It follows that any doctor convicted of a sexual offense against a patient must, by the same act, be deemed unfit to practice in this sacred profession."
The SMC described Tan's case as one of the worst that came before him.
VICTIM IN MANDATE IN HIS "WHIM AND FANCY"
In mitigation, Tan's lawyer said his client, a practitioner for more than 25 years, was a "pioneer in the field of liposuction, having introduced laser-assisted liposuction and ultrasound-assisted liposuction in Singapore and Southeast Asia."
It was also noted that he was active in charity work, having volunteered to remove tattoos from ex-prisoners and travel to Croatia in 2014 to help flood victims.
In light of Tan's "distinguished career", his lawyer pleaded for a two-year suspension of practice.
The SMC determined that the "degree of depravity" involved in the case where Tan "essentially detained the patient without his permission for two days, and manipulated him at his whim and fancy in the most degrading manner," was too great.
He said that a veteran physician "of great competence" should receive no "special accommodation," but that Tan's antiquity only served to increase the breach of trust.
"We were firmly convinced that the degree of guilt in the practice of sexual offenses was so great that there should be no doubt that the respondent should be stripped of his license to practice on that basis alone," the council said. he concluded.