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Doctor allegedly caused patient's death by rash act, accused of prescribing man cancer drugs without tests

Doctor allegedly caused patient's death by rash act, accused of prescribing man cancer drugs without tests

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 15 Oct 2019
Author: K.C. Vijayan

He is said to have prescribed chemotherapy agent without first having man undergo tests. The case is apparently a first in which a doctor is charged with causing death by a rash act under Section 304A(a) of the Penal Code.

A 75-year-old Singaporean doctor has been charged in the State Courts with the death of a patient, allegedly caused by tablets he had prescribed.

Dr Haridass Ramdass, who operated from a clinic in Chander Road in Little India at the time of the incident, is accused of prescribing 10 tablets of methotrexate (MTX) to Mr Savarimuthu Arul Xavier, 28, without first arranging for him to undergo the required tests.

MTX is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant.

The dosage that the doctor prescribed was also not in line with established guidelines, according to the charge slapped on him earlier this month.

The case is apparently a first in which a doctor is charged with causing death by a rash act under Section 304A(a) of the Penal Code.

Mr Xavier, a foreign national, was treated by Dr Haridass on Nov 24, 2014, at Tekka Clinic Surgery, where he was given an injection of dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat various ailments such as allergic or breathing disorders, as well as skin conditions.

In addition to MTX, Mr Xavier was also prescribed 10 tablets each of prednisolone - a medication for treating certain disorders and conditions including cancer - and chlorpheniramine, which is used to treat the symptoms of allergic conditions.

He had to take one tablet of each medication, twice a day. He died 16 days later.

The "rash act" of prescribing MTX is alleged to have caused Mr Xavier to develop neutropenia, a condition that results when the body does not have enough neutrophils, an important white blood cell that fights infection, as defined by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

He also developed mucositis, which is a complication of some cancer therapies in which the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed, according to the National Cancer Institute in the United States.

These developments resulted in Mr Xavier contracting "an invasive fungal infection" that led to his death, said the charge.

According to information on the Internet, Dr Haridass has been a general practitioner for 44 years. He received his medical degree from India's Karnatak University in 1971.

He is out on $10,000 bail, and the case is scheduled to be raised in court in two weeks.

A person convicted of causing death by a rash act not amounting to culpable homicide faces up to five years in jail, a fine or both.


MTX is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant. The dosage that the doctor prescribed was also not in line with established guidelines, according to the charge slapped on him earlier this month.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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