THE Court of Appeal has upheld a six-month suspension of general surgeon Eric Gan Keng Seng, 44, whose patient died following an operation he performed.

The 54-year-old patient, Mr Toh Hock Ken, had undergone surgery at Alexandra Hospital to remove a stone in his bile duct in December 2005. He experienced severe pain two hours after the surgery and died about 1 1/2 months later from complications.

Two charges of professional misconduct were levelled at Dr Gan - that he was not competent to perform the operation, and that he had mismanaged the post-operative treatment of the patient.

After sittings in May last year and in January, the Disciplinary Committee of the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) acquitted him on the first charge but found him guilty on the second.

Dr Gan appealed against both the conviction and the six-month suspension, but the appeal was dismissed in the Court of Appeal on Monday.

On Dec 6, 2005, he had performed an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) on Mr Toh. A common procedure to remove stones in the bile duct, the ERCP involves inserting a scope down the patient's throat to locate the opening to the bile duct and then to remove the stone.

Surgeon's suspension upheld