SINGAPORE – A doctor posted at Changi General Hospital (CGH) reported being ill on November 20, 2015, and forged his own medical certificate (MC) five days later.
Joel Arun Sursas, 29, was fined $ 7,000 on Tuesday (May 7) after pleading guilty to a counterfeit charge last month. Three other charges of similar crimes were considered during the sentence.
Earlier media reports stated that Sursas had reported illness so he could work as a locum – or substitute physician – in a private clinic.
But in his request for mitigation, defense lawyer Lee Teck Leng said that Sursas' secret work always occurred after he finished his work at CGH.
Lee told District Judge Mathew Joseph: "He never did locum work at the expense of his CGH work." On four occasions, the defendant was absent from his job at CGH that day, but he worked as a locum at night.He issued an MC to apologize for the day's work. "
The lawyer added that Sursas did not show up to work at CGH on four occasions, since he was feeling "very depressed" with his girlfriend in Canada.
"The main motivation of the accused to work as a locum was to earn some secondary income so he could take a trip to Canada … to try to save his relationship with her," Lee said.
In a statement on Tuesday, Sursas said he deeply regrets his actions.
He added: "The last four years have not diminished my desire to serve society as a physician. I hope society will allow me to redeem myself."
Deputy District Attorney Ben Mathias Tan said that Sursas worked in the diagnostic radiology department of CGH between September 1, 2015 and January 4, 2016.
Singapore worked as a locum at Etern Medical Clinic, which had branches in Sengkang and Punggol, on 47 different occasions, between July 10 and December 11, 2015.
After reporting illness on November 20, 2015, he worked at the clinic from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., earning $ 95 per hour.
Five days later, he wrote an MC and sent the forged document to CGH.
The Straits Times reported last October that the Singapore Medical Board (SMC) disciplinary court found him guilty of working locum on 47 occasions, issuing MCs to himself to give the impression that they had been issued by another doctor, and with an earlier date, one of your certificates.
The court suspended him for three years, imposed a $ 15,000 fine, censored him, and ordered him to pay the suit.
Sursas was temporarily registered in May 2015 to be hired by the Ministry of Health (MOHH) and to work at an SMC-approved institution.
The MOHH ended its job in January 2016 after its actions were discovered. Upon termination, the SMC canceled its temporary registration, which meant that it could no longer practice here.
The ST report stated that since he is no longer a registered doctor, the court's decision to suspend him is irrelevant.
Forgery, Sursas could have been arrested for up to four years and fined.