Negligent practices by a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner in Singapore has led to a diabetic patient having to amputate part of his left leg.
According to The Straits Times, Lee Miing Chong — who practised at the Royal Acupuncture Specialist Centre — had treated a 59-year-old diabetic patient for poor sensation in his feet in January 2015.
Four months later, wounds that the patient had sustained from the treatment did not heal, and his left leg had to be amputated below the knee.
An investigation by the TCM Practitioners Board determined that Lee’s treatment of the patient had amounted to professional misconduct and/ or negligence.
A statement from the board on Wednesday, March 13, revealed that Lee received a three-year suspension and a S$5,000 fine.
Initial treatment caused the patient burns
Lee had initially used heat lamp therapy when the patient visited him.
While this is an appropriate treatment for poor sensation in the feet, the investigation committee found that Lee had placed the lamp too close to the soles of the patient’s feet.
This was despite the patient asking Lee to be careful.
According to Channel NewsAsia, this caused the patient to develop fluid-filled blisters on his feet that burst when the man walked.
The patient then immediately returned to Lee, who cleaned his wounds, applied medication, and bandaged his feet.
The next day, the patient — who had been running a high fever after the initial treatment — received acupuncture and electric pulse treatment from Lee.
However, his condition worsened and he had to be admitted to the hospital later that day for severe burn wounds on his feet.
Being a diabetic complicated the healing process for the patient, and after the burn wounds failed to heal properly, he had to undergo an amputation.
Investigations found Lee’s failure
The patient subsequently lodged a complaint with the TCM Practitioners Board in April 2017.
On top of his failure to take adequate precautions and care with the heat lamp treatment, the investigation committee found that Lee had not informed his patient about the risks involved or of alternative treatments.
It also found that Lee had “failed to render appropriate and generally accepted method of TCM treatment” after the patient’s soles were burnt.
The committee also concluded that Lee should have advised his patient to seek immediate medical attention.
Instead, by administering the acupuncture and electric impulse treatments, Lee had caused the patient to delay the appropriate medical treatments for his burn injuries.
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