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Bangladeshi Businessman Paralysed After Procedure, Sues Neurosurgeon But Sued by Hospital

gleneagles paralysed singapore

A Bangladeshi businessman, Mr Noor Alam, 51, who sought treatment at Singapore’s Gleneagles Hospital for a spinal condition, has become paralysed following a medical procedure and is now suing his neurosurgeon, Dr James Tan Siah Heng, for damages.

Simultaneously, despite Mr Alam being paralysed, Gleneagles Hospital is suing Mr Alam to recover more than S$1 million in unpaid hospital bills.

Details of the Case

Mr Alam has been hospitalised since July 2022 after undergoing a procedure at Gleneagles Hospital. His hospital bills have exceeded S$1 million (US$739,800) and continue to mount. According to court documents obtained by CNA, Mr Alam initially visited Gleneagles in 2019 for neck pain that did not improve with physiotherapy. Dr. Tan diagnosed him with a prolapsed disc with spinal cord compression and recommended surgery. The surgery was completed without immediate complications.

Complications and Return to Singapore

After returning to Bangladesh, Mr. Alam developed a wound infection that eventually healed, leaving a benign skin tag. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he could only return to Singapore for a follow-up consultation in July 2022. Dr Tan recommended a radiofrequency medial branch neurotomy, a pain treatment procedure using radio waves. He also assured Mr Alam it would be quick and easy.

Allegations of Medical Negligence

Mr Alam’s appointed Mr Raj Singh Shergill and Ms Desiree Koh Jia Min from Lee Shergill law firm. They alleged that Dr Tan’s method of injecting local anaesthesia during the procedure injured Mr Alam’s spinal cord. Following the procedure, Mr Alam experienced weakness in his left arm and leg, which progressed to all four limbs. An expert report obtained by his lawyers states that Mr Alam is now paralysed, incontinent, and unable to walk. The condition is likely to be permanent.

Legal Actions and Claims

In May, Mr Alam filed a lawsuit claiming Dr Tan breached his duty by failing to provide relevant and material information about the comparative risks and benefits of the procedure versus other available options. Mr Alam remains warded at Gleneagles, which has stated that it does not employ Dr Tan. Dr Tan is considered a private specialist with “clinical admitting privileges” at the hospital.

Gleneagles’ Lawsuit for Unpaid Bills

In February, Parkway Hospitals Singapore, which operates Gleneagles, sued Mr Alam to recover unpaid hospital bills. The hospital claims that Mr Alam was fit for discharge by the end of August 2022 but refused to leave or be transferred to a rehabilitation centre. The hospital alleges that Mr Alam has refused to pay any part of the charges. The charges had ballooned to S$1.13 million by January 9, 2024.

Mr Alam’s Defence

In his defence, Mr Alam claims he agreed to be treated at Gleneagles by Dr Tan after being assured by a representative from Gleneagles in Bangladesh that Dr Tan was sufficiently integrated into the organisation. Mr Alam alleges that both Dr Tan and Gleneagles advised him to stay at the hospital for treatment while waiting for a payout from Dr Tan’s professional liability insurers. He claims that the hospital bills were to be deferred during this waiting period and that a discount would be considered.

Current Status

Mr Alam’s lawyers argue that their client cannot mitigate his losses until his claim against Dr Tan is resolved or until any interim payment is made by Dr Tan’s insurer. They have requested that Gleneagles’ claim be put on hold until Mr Alam recovers compensation from Dr Tan. The court has scheduled case conferences for both suits to be heard.

Conclusion

The case involving Mr Noor Alam’s paralysis highlights the complexities and legal challenges that can arise in medical malpractice and hospital billing disputes. As the legal proceedings unfold, the outcomes will be closely watched by the medical and legal communities.

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