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Duo charged over death of liposuction patient in 2009

Duo charged over death of liposuction patient in 2009

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 22 Jan 2020
Author: Dominic Low

Wong and Zhu were ordered to pay $3.26 million in damages to Mr Heng's family in 2016. In Nov 2018, a Court of Three Judges ordered that Wong be struck off the register and Zhu be suspended for 18 months.

Two people have been charged in court with causing the death of real estate firm boss Franklin Heng after a botched liposuction in 2009.

The high-profile case was Singapore's first recorded death resulting from aesthetic treatment.

Former doctor Wong Meng Hang, 44, was charged on Monday with one count of committing a rash act causing death. Zhu Xiu Chun, alias Myint Myint Kyi, 56, was charged with one count of abetting Wong in his rash act. Both were doctors at an aesthetic clinic in Orchard Road.

On Dec 30, 2009, Wong performed liposuction on Mr Heng, 44, who was then chief executive of YTL Starhill Global Reit Management, assisted by Zhu.

Wong chose to sedate Mr Heng with propofol, an anaesthetic drug, although he and Zhu lacked the necessary training and experience to administer it safely. He instructed Zhu to increase the drug dosage whenever Mr Heng was observed to show any signs of responding to pain stimulation, movement or discomfort.

The propofol dosage proved excessive, and caused the patient to enter such a deep state of sedation that he showed no signs of pain even when Wong inadvertently punctured Mr Heng's intestines multiple times.

Afterwards, Mr Heng was left unattended for at least five minutes. It was then that his airway collapsed and he suffocated. Mr Heng was subsequently taken to the hospital but died without regaining consciousness, despite resuscitation attempts.

Wong and Zhu were ordered to pay $3.26 million in damages to Mr Heng's family in 2016.

In November 2018, a Court of Three Judges ordered that Wong be struck off the register and Zhu be suspended for 18 months.

The court also ordered then that the case be reported to the Public Prosecutor so that the duo could be investigated for criminal offences that may have been committed.

For causing death by rash act, Wong and Zhu can each be sentenced to a maximum of five years' jail, or a fine, or both. They are expected to be back in court on Feb 21.

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

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