Doctor charged for causing patient's death through prescribing drugs without tests

Wan Ting Koh
PHOTO: Getty Images
PHOTO: Getty Images

SINGAPORE – A doctor was charged with causing the death of a patient through a rash act by administering him with an injection and 30 tablets of medication without first arranging for the necessary tests for him.

Haridass Ramdass, 75, was working as a general practitioner in Tekka Clinic Surgery in Little India when he allegedly committed the offences in 2014.

He is accused of killing his patient, Savarimuthu Arul Xavier, by administering an injection of Dexamethasone and prescribing him with 30 tablets of medication – 10 tablets of Methotrexate (MTX) of 2.5mg, 10 tablets of Prednisolone 5mg and 10 tablets of Chlorpheniramine 4mg – on 24 November 2014.

Dexamethasone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, breathing problems and certain cancers. The medication is said to decrease the body’s natural defensive response and reduce symptoms such as swelling and allergic reactions.

All three types of medication tablets were to be taken in dosages of one tablet twice daily.

Failed to arrange necessary tests

Haridass is said to have failed to arrange the necessary tests that ought to have been completed before prescribing MTX to Savarimuthu. MTX is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant used to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The dosage of MTX was also not in line with guidelines, stated the doctor’s charge sheet, resulting in Savarimuthu developing Neutropenia, a blood condition, and Mucositis, a painful inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract.

The two conditions allegedly resulted in Savarimuthu contracting an invasive fungal infection which led to his death.

According to a website which provides information on healthcare providers, Haridass, a Singaporean, has been practicing for 44 years and received his medical degree from India's Karnatak University in 1971.

The general practitioner was first charged on 4 October and will return to court for a pre-trial conference on 29 October.

If convicted for causing death through a rash act, he faces a jail term of up to five years, with a fine, or both.

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