Doctor struck off 10 months over teen's diet pills

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 July, 2008, 12:00am

A doctor who improperly prescribed slimming drugs to a teenager who then had suicidal thoughts during mood swings was yesterday struck off the General Register for 10 months for professional misconduct.

The Medical Council found Siu Ting-wing guilty of 12 offences which occurred while he was working as a doctor for Be A Lady Medical Centre in Sha Tin for three months from May to July 2004. They included 10 charges of improperly labelling medicines, one of improperly prescribing an inappropriate anti-obesity medication and one of failing to appropriately monitor a patient for possible side effects of the treatment. It is the fourth time Dr Siu has faced professional misconduct charges.

The Medical Council ruled Dr Siu had prescribed the 10 bags of improperly labelled medicines, although it acknowledged that Dr Siu had not personally handed the prescription to the male patient, 17.

'The doctor has the responsibility of checking that all medicines prescribed to a patient are correct and properly labelled,' Medical Council chairwoman Felice Lieh Mak said.

As far as failing to properly monitor the patient, the council heard that the teenager had suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts after taking the medicine in May 2004. He testified that he had asked Dr Siu about the problem but the doctor had not stopped him taking the medicine.

The medicine in question, Qualicana, could cause heart attacks and strokes and was unsuitable for treating weight loss, according to the council. Professor Lieh Mak said Dr Siu had prescribed a 'cocktail package' to the patient and should have regularly checked his status after that.

'The treatment was an aggressive regime,' Professor Lieh Mak said. 'It could create illness and cause mood swings. The patient's weight, blood pressure and pulse would need to have been carefully assessed. The defendant failed to do so despite complaints from the patient.'

Dr Siu had told the council that he had not seen the patient and that he was only responsible for Botox and beauty treatments. But one of the parlour's consultants testified that Dr Siu was the only doctor working there at the time.

The Medical Council issued a warning to Dr Siu in 2004; in 2006 his name was removed from the General Register for three months, suspended for one year, and his name was removed from the General Register for three months in April this year. Dr Siu is appealing against the April ruling.