Singapore gynaecologist suspended for removing woman's ovary without consent

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She thought the surgery was being conducted to remove a mass on her ovary...

She was pregnant and consulting a doctor for a checkup, when a 34-year-old Singaporean mum-to-be was told the shocking news - that her left ovary was missing. She later miscarried.

According to reports, her ovary had been removed by gynaecologist Jen Shek Wei, without her full consent.  

Singapore gynaecologist suspended and fined

Dr Jen was fined S$10,000 and suspended for practicing for eight months, said the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) on November 14, 2017.

The 62-year-old gynaecologist had reportedly removed the woman's left ovary during a surgery he performed on her in August 2010. According to court documents, the woman claimed that she signed a blank consent form at the time. She thought the surgery was being performed to remove a mass on her ovary. 

She testified in court that the words "open left oophorectomy" (removal of the left ovary) were filled in after she signed the form. The woman was also not told what the medical term meant. 

According to Channel News Asia, "Dr Jen was found guilty of two charges of professional misconduct in a disciplinary tribunal inquiry held last year: That he advised the patient to remove the mass without proper evaluation; and that he removed her left ovary without obtaining her informed consent."

His appeal against disciplinary action by the SMC was dismissed by the Court of Three Judges. Dr Jen also has to pay for the legal costs of the hearing.

Reportedly, the surgery should not have been performed at all. The SMC also noted that Dr Jen, "did not show any remorse over the removal of the patient's left ovary and fallopian tube for a benign condition, and had even callously suggested that he had improved her fertility."

Read: A complete guide to fertility clinics in Singapore

This incident is a good reminder to always insist on full clarification before going in for any medical procedure. Informed consent is a must and do not settle for anything less!