Susan Lim loses appeal in overcharging case

After taking her case to the highest court in the land, Singapore surgeon Susan Lim has lost her appeal to block the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) from investigating complaints of overcharging.

Lim was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year when news that she billed a member of Brunei’s royal family $24.8 million for seven months of treatment made headlines.

The High Court case revolved around Lim’s attempt to block the SMC from appointing a second disciplinary committee to investigate the allegations by Singapore's Ministry of Health that she had committed 94 charges of professional misconduct, marking up third-party bills by as much as 500 times their original amounts.

The first committee appointed by SMC stepped down after Lim complained they had prejudged her case.

When the High Court ruled on 26 May that SMC could continue with its disciplinary hearing, Lim appealed the decision.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and V K Rajah dismissed the appeal with costs, reported Channel NewsAsia.

The broadcaster reported that, among other grounds, the court ruled that SMC was authorised to form a second disciplinary committee and that Lim’s arguments of a possible bias did not satisfy the legal test to whether there was reason to suspect the medical council was biased.

On Lim’s claim that the SMC’s decision to convene a second panel was unreasonable or irrational,  the court said it would be “irrational and a dereliction of duty” if the SMC did not appoint a second disciplinary committee after removing the first, said CNA.

The judgement, which spanned over 40 pages, was read out by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.

Lim said in a statement that she “is disappointed with the Court of Appeal’s decision but respects and accepts it,” reported Bloomberg.