The media reported today (15 Oct) that a medical doctor, Dr Haridass Ramdass, has been charged in court for causing the death of a patient.
Dr Haridass who is said to be a Singaporean, operated from a clinic in Little India. He is accused of prescribing 10 tablets of methotrexate (MTX) without first arranging for his patient, Mr Savarimuthu Arul Xavier, to undergo the required tests before prescription.
MTX is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant. The dosage he prescribed was also not in line with established guidelines.
Mr Xavier was treated by Dr Haridass on 24 Nov 2014, when he was given an injection of dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat ailments such as allergic or breathing disorders and skin conditions. In addition to MTX, Mr Xavier was also prescribed prednisolone – a medication for treating certain disorders and conditions including cancer – and chlorpheniramine, which is used to treat the symptoms of allergic conditions.
The “rash act” of prescribing MTX is alleged to have caused Mr Xavier to develop neutropenia, when the body does not have enough neutrophils, an important white blood cell that fights infection. He also developed mucositis, a complication of some cancer therapies in which the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed.
Mr Xavier was said to have contracted “an invasive fungal infection” that led to his death 16 days later after seeing Dr Haridass. 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.
Karnataka University’s medical degree no longer recognised in Singapore
According to records on the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) website, Dr Haridass obtained his medical degree from India’s Karnataka University in 1971 but was registered with the SMC in Singapore in 1974.
The last renewal of his medical licence was in Jan last year, which would end in Dec this year. This means that Dr Haridass can still continue to legally practise his medicine.
And according to SMC’s List of Registrable Basic Medical Qualifications, Karnataka University is not named inside the list which meant that anyone who graduates from Karnataka University with a medical degree today would not be recognised in Singapore, and as such, cannot practise medicine in Singapore. Perhaps Dr Haridass’ degree might have been recognised by SMC in the 70s.
At the moment, only medical degrees from 8 Indian universities are recognized by the Singapore government. Interestingly, one Indian university was quietly removed from the list 10 years ago in 2009:
Meanwhile, Dr Haridass is currently out on a $10,000 bail and his case is scheduled to be heard again in two weeks’ time.