A 14-month-old boy fell into a deep sleep for a total of 44 hours after being given a cough syrup more than four times the dosage that a boy his age should have received.
The boy’s mother, Belinda Lim, 33, took him to YSL Bedok Clinic and Surgery on 22 November (Wednesday) as he had been coughing.
They met a doctor, Dr. Siew Man Gah, at the clinic and were given a bottle of Fedac syrup, attached on it an instruction which said to take 10 ml of the medicine three times a day.
Ms Lum suspected her son overdosed on medication which she then rushed him to Gleneagles Hospital on Thursday morning where he was given the antidote.
She said that the doctor at Gleneagle told her that if she had given the complete dosage as per prescribed for 3 times a day and 10 ml each time, her son would have passed away.
To keep him hydrated, she fed him water through a syringe every hour as the boy fell into a deep sleep.
Ms Lum said that her son woke up on 23 November still a little bit drowsy. “I really hope there’s no side effect on his future growth,” she said.
She then took him to a paediatric neurologist at Mount Elizabeth Orchard Hospital as his hands were trembling. on Sunday (26 November).
She then called the clinic on Friday and told them what happen, saying that their response was, “So what you want us to do now?”
“Instead of apologizing, their attitude are beyond words can describe,” she stated.
Ms Lum then went down to the clinic immediately and request to speak to the doctor, and understand from the doctor that this is not the first time they had negligence on their case.
“First time was wrongly prescribe ear drop as eye drop, and second was a patient at 106 years old with high blood wrongly prescribed with diabetic medication, which nearly kills the patient,” she exclaimed.
Speaking to The Straits Times, Ms Lum said that she had met the doctor of the clinic. “It was the clinic assistant who dispensed the medication wrongly. I’ve asked for compensation and a public apology,” she said.
Ms Lum added that she has also made an appointment to lodge a complaint with the Singapore Medical Council, however, all they ever reply is that they will take nine months to investigate the case.
“I’m not sure how much damage they will have done in the 9 months if they are still operating,” she said.
According to The Health Sciences Authority, Fedac in tablet or syrup form should not be given to children under the age of two. However, Dr Yik Keng Yeong, who runs Tan and Yik Clinic and Surgery in Bishan, told ST that some general practitioners dispense medication meant for older children and adults as they do not usually stock medication specific to young children and that a child as young as Ms Lum’s son should be given only 1.5ml to 2.5ml of Fedac.
“10ml is an adult’s dosage. Overdosing on Fedac can cause heart palpitations and sedation. For this case, hopefully the patient will not develop long-term complications,” Dr Yik said.
The parent company of YSL, Qualitas Medical Group, responded to queries from ST, saying that it is aware of the situation at its clinic, “The reports are deeply concerning and we are investigating the matter thoroughly. Our heart goes out to the parents who must have gone through great distress.”
“We have been following up with the parents since the incident, and are relieved to hear that the infant has since recovered. We are continuing to engage with the parents and we wish the patient well,” it added.
Mr Lum has written her story on fund-raising platform GIVE.asia to encourage people to share her story on Facebook to raise awareness of the incident and will donate $1 for each share.
“If you’re so kind to help to share this post out, and again, I want to stress that donations to any of the 3 charities goes directly to them, will not pass through me, and every share from this page to your Facebook wall, I will donate $1 to each of the charities,” she wrote.