A psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health who initiated an affair with a patient he was seeing has been suspended from practice for 24 months, the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said yesterday.
Dr Solomon Wong Kee Miew, 42, started seeing the female patient in April 2011, and immediately took a liking to her as he found her attractive. He would intentionally schedule consultation sessions with the woman such that he could spend more time with her, an SMC disciplinary tribunal noted.
At their sixth and final session in October that year, Dr Wong complimented her on her complexion and touched her on the cheek. He also asked if she would be keen to keep in touch with him and asked for her number.
About one month later, they started dating and first had sex soon after. Dr Wong had also sneaked out while he was on duty on at least two occasions to go on dates with her — once going for a musical with her at Marina Bay Sands.
After they ended their relationship in February 2012, the woman confided in one of Dr Wong’s colleagues, who lodged a complaint with the SMC on March 14.
At a disciplinary hearing in May, Dr Wong pleaded guilty to misusing his professional position to pursue and establish an improper relationship with the patient. In pleading for his suspension to be capped at 12 months, Dr Wong’s lawyers told the tribunal it was the first time he had committed such a misdemeanour, adding that he had also shown remorse by seeking psychotherapeutic treatment and counselling since.
The SMC’s lawyers, however, asked for a 36-month suspension, noting that Dr Wong had taken the initiative to pursue the improper relationship. Worse, the woman was particularly vulnerable as she was a psychiatric patient, they added.
In considering the sentence to be imposed, the disciplinary tribunal said: “We are in full agreement that the misconduct of having a sexual relationship with a patient is particularly grave and brings disrepute to the medical profession.”
Dr Wong was suspended for two years, until May 25, 2016, and censured.