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Prominent surgeon Susan Lim suspended from practice for three years

Posted by temasektimes on August 23, 2012

Prominent surgeon Susan Lim has been suspended from practice for three years by the Singapore Medical Council for professional misconduct.

According to the state media, Dr Lim will also be fined $10,000 for overcharging one of her patients, a member of the Brunei royal family.

Apart from being censured in writing, she has also been warned not to overcharge again.

However, Dr Lim refused to accept the ruling and has since filed papers with the Court of Appeal against SMC’s judgement reportedly seeking to not only have her suspension, fine and censure rescinded, but also for the court to declare that she does not have to bear the costs of hearings.

The SMC found Dr Lim guilty of all 94 charges of professional misconduct brought against her last year by the Ministry of Health including marking up third-party medical bills by up to 500 times their original amount for Pengiran Anak Hajah Damit, sister to the Brunei queen.

In her appeal, Dr Lim argued that Singapore has no guidelines on maximum fees a doctor can charge which are agreed upon between a doctor and his or her patient.

Dr Lim will continue to practise pending the outcome of her appeal in January next year.



66 Responses to “Prominent surgeon Susan Lim suspended from practice for three years”

  1. CSI said

    haha overcharging is a common thing in Singapore …

  2. Lim said

    She should just retire with her millions with her rich husband and enjoy life. why fight a wall?

  3. Dr Ken MANSUKHANI said

    Over charging? As long as we have a situation here of a willing buyer and a willing seller, there should not even be a such a big deal. Just because the Royal family of Brunei is the complainant, like it or not, Susan Lim has to be dealt with one way or another. Utter rubbish!!!! Frankkly, I would have done the same if I was in her shoes.

    • sweetbean said

      You could do – but some people actually care about their professional reputation. There is nothing “wrong” with overcharging a willing customer – the only ‘wrong’ is the character of the people who are willing to do it.

      • Dr Ken MANSUKHANI said

        What’s wrong with my character if I want to overcharge a willing buyer? Better to get rich in the shortest time rather than complaining like u assholes who blame the government for your personal poverties. At least I am not a hypocrite you hypocrite!

  4. burn said

    It’s amazing how this woman is so extremely avaricious and completely devoid of common human decency that she sees nothing wrong with what she did. Whatever happen to the hippocratic oath? Yeah, there’s no guideline on maximum fee and so you should rip the hell off your patient just because she was so rich she could afford your exorbitant fee.

    Reminds me of the PAP ministers, never mind public service, they will fleece the nation they are supposed to serve just because Singapore is so rich it could afford their exorbitant salaries.

    Dr Lim, I hope you burn in hell. Say hi to the PAP ministers when you see them there.

  5. KEn said

    woffles shld have the same punishment…

  6. Chui Gong Lum Par Song! said

    Well…it is a known fact that in Singapore, PAPPIES can self-declare the amount and number of time they get a pay-raise, but other then that if you dare raise your charges for certain professional service, you’ll be made a lesson for others!

  7. dred said

    Something stinks about this, and it is not the gangrene.

  8. NaBey said

    Dr susan, I’m so sorry for u. U over charged and got fined. We were over charged by previous prata man @$4M per year salary and he escape fined! We were overcharged by paying COE, ERP and yet still stuck in traffic jam.
    So sorry for u.

  9. Dr JULIUS NO said


  10. edwin said

    the greediest doctor in singapore

  11. You are a greedy woman where are your morals. You are so ugly looking too

  12. Susan said

    She should have her license revoked totally! … and now she is still complaining?

  13. +60 said

    what is 10k fine, she have 5 bungalows at Sentosa, farking chee bye

  14. tenzin said

    It’s just a plot of jealousy & who are the ones sitting on the SMC board & the court. She is right but for authorities to bow down after they have dig up, they lost their dignity.

    • Bao Ching Tian said

      Professional fees are based on a willing seller willing buyer basis. The Brunei royal family complained not because of the $25M bill but because the princess died. Had the princess survived, $25 M is peanuts.

  15. Sherlock Holmes said

    I am convinced that in her case , the BILL killed her patient and NOT the DISEASE !!

    • Horatio Caine said

      Holmes , you are right , the shock from recieving a $25 million dollar bill will KILL AN AFRICAN BULL ELEPHANT OUTRIGHT LET ALONE A SICK PERSON !!!

      • Dr Trapper John said

        It’s true !

        I once showed a 2 million dollars bill to very fat man and immediately he fell like TIMBER !
        I dare not even think about what a $25 million cracker will do , it’s like dropping a nuke bomb !!!

    • Dr JOHN WATSON said

      Holmes !
      a $25 million dollars bill would have knocked the poor chap right out to the milky way

      • Sherlock Holmes said

        Precisely , Dr Watson
        with $25 million dollars , the patient would be better off buying the whole hospital !

  16. Sinkaypoh said

    Dun worry lah, Grace F-U asked for more & got promoted, she charged more & got F-ed, why not give her SMRT Saw’s job?

  17. P Koh said

    Reasonableness is the word of the day. If she charges reasonably because she gives special attention to the patient and inflat the bill a bit more, the patient should not complain.. She looks at the patient not the sickness to decide on how much to charge so is this the right thing to do.?? Was she trained as a doctor to do this or to cure sickness and not enrich herself just because the patient is rich.???? I have no respect for such doctors for taking advantage of her patients.

  18. sfghfgh said


  19. jacque lee said

    There is a willing buyer and willing seller. The case only arise from third party interference from here. All the money is worthless if you cannot live and this patient was willing to pay to stay alive. All those who are making your remarks here, there may come a day when you or somebody close may need service of someone like her and you will regret what you said. I think it is quite common for doctors to charge more the richer patients and lesser for poorer patients. By suspending her licence, Singapore is depriving itself of a top cancer doctor. In any case she is contributing to Singapore economy by earning from foreigner (same as any export) and definitely pay alot of taxes. Two years suspension means loss of lot of tax revenue to Singapore. Foolish case. It is better to keep her active earning money for Singapore than to ask her to switch off.

    • P Koh said

      We do not need doctors like that and not that she is the best there ever was that her services must be used. The patient despite her “quality” attention still died. I hope you are not a doctor by profession or probably you are her friend to make such silly and uncomprehensible remarks. We can do without such doctors trained to take advantage and not to cure for the patient’s sake.

      • jacque lee said

        I just read that she has long qeue of patients and you must book for her time months down the road. It is not for you to decide what other cancer patients choose to see and seem like there is alot of others despite all these comments in this site about fees. You can only decide if it is your own sickness. The medical council reputation is tarnished by giving this ruling as I know of another cancer doctor who I heard is very expensive – may be more than her. You only go to see if your cancer is really advanced. Let just say medical service can be like airlines – first class, business class, economy & budget . Take your pick – you can go Polyclinics.

      • P Koh said

        You missed the point that I am making. I am not saying that you do not pay for the quality of services that you are getting but the fact that “quality” is not the yardstick by which patients are charged in Susan Lim’s case.. The yardstick used by her is how rich the patient is and charging not by the treatment received but by how deep a patient’s pocket is, is not morally correct. A sick patient should be treated in the same fashion whether he or she is rich or poor.

      • Jacquelee said

        Cancer treatment can be very advanced if you can afford it especially In US. The aftercare cost alot. It can means dying shortly or extending your life longer. No guarantee of total cure. This is the reality of life. There are many doctors who charged alot & prosper earning million but the SMC don’t go after that. Visit Mount Elizabeth or Gleneagle Hospitals & you can meet them. To them if they are helping the patients there is nothing for them to justify morality.

    • P Koh said

      You have missed the point that she did not provide the services that she was supposedly paid to do but inflate the bills for treatments which she outsourced by unimaginable folds. That is definitely immoral.

      • jacque lee said

        In any trade, the consolidator always make money because through his or her reputation, customers are attracted. Subcontractor willingly provide the service with “many thank you” and hope for more knowing that or may not be interested to know how his/her service is ultimately mark up in the total bill to customer. I am sure all those subcontractors of Susan Lim are still offering their service through her. Who are you to question this arrangement? Just like the fish brokers and fish mongers make many times more than the fishermen who risked their life for the catch – are you going to say the fish brokers and fishmongers are immoral? The same go for mummy in karoake lounge or senior private banker who live on his beautiful lady private bankers to service rich men.

        By the way, I am not in the medical profession or know Susuan Lim. I am just an independent observer.

      • P Koh said

        Again you have missed the point that she charged based on the deep pocket of the patients and also not that it is wrong to outsource services and load on the subcontractors’ bills but the amount loaded by a few hundred folds is morally obscene and wrong which is the point I am making. Who are I to question? – true but that is why a complain has been lodged and Susan Lim is now facing the music.

      • jacque lee said

        From time to time you may have read of doctors who forego fees or receive eggs or chickens for poor patients. How do these doctors survive – by charging more from their richer patients. The royal patient has been consuming & paid her service for 7 years without complain & it seem like they never complain but some communication may have happen between their civil service & our medical council who never question so many other prosperous doctors here. The patient was able to live for 7 years which is very good as personally i have known quite a few people in my circle who died within 3 to 6 months of detecting cancer. I have a friend father who shopped around for cancer doctors and they give you quotations which probably can help him extend his life and were not cheap. In life, when you have reputation, you can charge all you want and as a buyer you need not take up the service if you think is expensive. How many thousand per cents is not the issue. In this world they are many people who earn very large sum of money and if you are envious, why don’t you try to do it instead of criticising and sulking. You can be Madonna, Jackie Chan or Michael Jackson. I don’t earn the kid of money but I find it is acceptable for other to do it if they have the skill. There is no need to be stressed up and frustrated like you.

      • Naivety said

        Why do u all keep saying that the charges & rates are exorbitant when there are already precedents being set for such rates & fees especially during Dr Ng Eng Hen’s time while he was still in private practice who had charged similar rates & fees if not higher?

        Care to illuminate please?

      • P Koh said

        We are talking about morality and nothing to do with being jealous, stressed or frustrated. You got on the wrong end of the stick and getting personal Jacque.

      • jacque lee said

        I already replied to you about moralityof charging patients by their worth & this is subjective judgement of individual doctor in my first sentence of my last reply to you. I repeat doctors openly declared, if I am not mistaken including a presidential candidate that he waived fees for extremely poor patients. So how do these kind of doctors survive? They have to charge higher from other patients and there is no laws in free societies round the world dictating how fees is to be charged. I have been in commercial world for long time and policy regarding pricing of any company products or services is top secret as its survival is at stake. In US and western world they only have anti monopolies laws to prevent collution. As long as consummers have choice and there are other suppliers, market forces dictates. As far as I am concern, I have higher regards for Susan Lim than the whole bunch of crowns in the medical council. Is one of them previously rejected by her and out for revenge? He probably lower his standard & got other woman. He should recluse himself from the deliberation

  20. jacque lee said

    There is a willing buyer and willing seller. This case arise from third party interference from our side. The patient is willing to pay for her life – money is worthless if you cannot live. She is a good cancer doctor. All those who are making remarks here, please note somebody you know may be hit with cancer and may need her help. I am sure she will be compassionate in her charging if you are not rich like the royal family from Brunei. By suspending her licence, other critical patients will

  21. Noob said

    eh,,, maybe she just want to blow up the case in case she kenna by hitman ….

  22. Darren said

    For those who do not know the background story, I suggest you read it up. She grossly overcharged her patient, with bills amounting to SGD25million for a span of 6 years. That comes down to approximately SGD4.1million per year. The reason why anyone will pay such obscene figures is probably due to the life and death nature of the illness. The sister of the Bruneian queen was suffering from cancer and I suspect that this witch-doctor leverage on the situation to reap huge profits.

    The worse part is that fact that she mostly played a consulting role, out-sourcing the required medical operations/surgeries to other doctors. She will then charge a premium for her referral services on top of fees liable to the doctors who performed the op.

    To sum it up, let me quote a newspaper report regarding this fiasco.

    “A report published in The Straits Times dated February 24 said a specialist who treated Dr Lim’s patient sent a bill for $400. But Dr Lim allegedly marked it up to $211,000 when she sent the bill to the Brunei High Commission.”

    $400 to $211,000? She should be dealt with akin to loan sharks!

    • Ghostbusters said

      If her fart could kill cancer cells , for farting 25 times , the patient would have to coughed up a million each lol

  23. Singapore Cock said

    3 years only?!!!!!

  24. tan jh said

    well not every medical practitioner is as noble as we would think…. its a fact many ppl in different professions seek to maximise their personal profits… just the way things are

  25. realty check said

    Three years suspension is too light. It not only involves overcharging but does include moral issues as well, like dishonesty or even cheating. Bloody shameful thing to do susan. SMC failed to do the right thing i.e. to revoke her licence to practice. There is unlikely to be any future case of overcharging involving so many millions & millions of dollars. For such a massive amount – only 3 years suspension. What about future cases of overcharging involving much smaller amounts – just a slap on the wrist? I hope the appeals court revoke her licence or increase the suspension to between 8 to 10 years. This to me would be a fair judgement.

  26. It’s odd some netizens here seem 2 b unable 2 see beyond their noses to rant against Dr Susan Lim. Her charges for treating the Brunei royalty were on par if not less than Dr Ng Eng Hen’s reported charges for ordinary patients whilst in private practice, and we’re talking about royalty here. If she shad overcharged, so also Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen; why is she being censured, fined 10k and suspended 4 3 yrs whereas nothing remiss is said of Dr Ng? What has the Medical Council to say on the difference(s) between Dr Susan Lim’s charges and Dr Ng Eng Hen’s, for good measure?
    It is an axiom in law that justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done. Comparing Dr Susan Lim’s and Dr Ng’s charges, are we seeing justice being meted out by the Medical Council?

    • leo said

      Good point ! except that,
      Dr Ng serves the emperor and hence only the emperor can censure him.
      As for Dr Susan Lim, it is a lesson learnt that serving royalty is secondary to serving the empeor.

  27. Helena said

    Well, Susan Lim divorced her husband and married a man from India.

  28. Helena said

    That’s why I always tell my children that they MUST be politicians or surgeons. Mummy and daddy can then relax, shake legs and laugh our way to the bank.

  29. Naivety said

    I thought in every transaction there is always an offer & acceptance rule in play & if the costs are made known in advance to the patient, the patient can choose not to seek treatment if he/she is not agreeable to the costs…why there is strong disagreement & dispute now after the operation had been rendered & done?

    It is just like going to the hawker centre & after you have ordered your foods & finished eating it, can you then refuse to pay for it at the published rates & prices??

    You might want to ask yourselves is this case being made an example of, politically motivated???

  30. JUSTICE PAO said

    With such a cost , who will dare see a doctor when they’re sick ??

    GUARDS !!!!!

  31. @ Justice Pao abv: Don’t insult the legendary judge who passed sentences without fear or favour. U’re simply a confused person.
    Dr Susan charged 4 royalty, compared to Dr Ng who charged his patients who were not royals. Why nothing remiss said about Dr Ng when their charges are comparable??

    • Julie Ong said

      Hi, Leopards Unchanged.

      I love it! ‘Without Fear Or Favour’ …….. but with a touch of compassion/mercy. In regard to the alleged overcharging by Dr Susan Lim it seems so to me that the price is indeed exorbitant. As the matter has now been brought forward to the courts I’d leave it at that.

      What is the price of a young man’s life? When he died in a fatal accident whilst doing his loyal duty in the service of the Nation? $300,000? Or more, perhaps a little less? I’m referring to the death of CPL Fahrurrazi whilst doing National Service training. I’m thinking that with the great economy of scale the government should be able to get a good insurance deal for our national servicemen thereby ensuring a fair/conscionable payout in the event of ‘death during training ‘. I hope the Minister of Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen will look into this matter with urgency and inform the public the compensation deal, the details of it, that is. We must not let our citizens’ sons die ……. and too bad ….. ‘shit’ happens! That’s abhorrent!! Hypocritical too, considering the exhortation to have more babies. We are citizens of no mean country. Let’s start looking after our own with tangible deeds and not nice, soothing words which effectively is meaningless and worthless.

      People, we need a seismic culture change. The policy of the government knows best is absolutely laughable given the mess they have created …. and still creating. The way I see it (you may disagree) is that we need a fundamental rethink of our values and how we as a people should be. Remember, we live in a globalised world. Insularity and autocratic/arrogant
      behaviour of government is a relic of the past. There’s no doubt that huge challenges confront us, but we’ll persist and resolve our problems one at a time. Sure, we cannot eliminate all our problems, but we can at least better manage them. MRT overcrowding/overload is one.

      Oops! I’m sermonising again. But, seriously……. we just have to do much better than what this government is doing now …… and not in 20 years’ time!

  32. loryah buruk said

    mai siao lah…. this lorkun is real fighter cock/hen even though found guilty. sometime, it is hard to take humiliation lying down as in her case.

  33. dd said

    The curious thing about the whole affair is that WHY IS MOH TAKING THE CUDGEL ON BEHALF OF THE SULTAN?


    If you treat the sacred duty of healing human beings into a commercial business , MORE PEOPLE WILL BE LINED UP TO BE SCREWED !!!

    This is just the tip of the iceberg , you ain’t seen nothing yet , Folks !

  35. CC said

    I think this is a loss – loss situation, singapore loss a greatest surgeon, govt lost the big tax gain from her earnings, anyway the 25 million has not been paid at all. She earned nothing from looking after the Royal family of Brunei. SMC is just too harsh and never put forward a win-win case. May be the Brunei ppl should go to the US to seek treatment in the future, the best private surgeon in the US will be charge less than 25mil.

    • Naivety said

      Not sure why both SMC & MOH is taking the lead on behalf of the Brunei Royal family in this litigation suit/case probably, there is something fishy going on & the case is politically motivated.

      Not too sure either, why both SMC & MOH found her guilty of over-charging her customers when a precedent for such charges & rates were already set by Dr Ng Eng Hen while he was still in private practice & he had already imposed similar charges & rates for such treatments if not higher!


      Yes , more so, the loss of lots of money just to settle her bills

  36. CC said

    The best surgeon in the US will charge no less than 25 mil lah..HaHa..

  37. @ Julie Ong abv: Love it that u love it.
    When Dr Susan Lim went so far as 2 close her clinic and to tend personally 2 the Brunei royal patient, even seeing her to the airport to give her (Susan’s) best attention, wasn’t this “compassion and kindness” exceptionally extended to a very special patient?
    My only ‘quarrel’ with Dr Susan wld be if she wld do the same with a less materially well-off patient, as Mother Theresa did to the ‘untouchables’ in Calcutta. But Mother Theresa is a rare gem, whereas Dr Susan Lim is an ordinary pea like most of us. So she probably won’t, and her treatment of the Brunei royal was truly extraordinary, as she herself reportedly argued in her defence.
    It’s really very much a case of 3-legged b@lls-carrying gone terribly wrong on Dr Susan Lim’s part. Still, while Dr Susan can hv no sympathy from anyone, this still does not mean that justice shd not also be seen to be done, and not only done by the S’pore Medical Council. Comparing her charges for the Brunei royalty which were also made known to the Brunei princess and Dr Ng Eng Hen’s charges for the ordinary well-to-do, the S’pore Medical Council has, in suspending, fining and censuring her, acted 2 give a poor public image of it being an unfair body that wld not hesitate to hand down unfair decisions to those appearing b4 it, past precedents 2 b simply ignored.
    At the least, the Council shd make reference to Dr Ng’s precedent charges to explain and justify its decisions, both on the grounds 4 its decisions and in response to public queries on the seeming inequitability in its treatment of Dr Susan Lim and Dr Ng Eng Hen. Indeed, the Medical Council owes this much to the ppl to allay public concerns in this respect.

  38. I read SMC’s comment on Dr Susan Lim’s case in ST today.
    Why was no reference made to Dr Ng Eng Hen’s similar charges when he was in private practice? When no ethics guidelines had bn laid down by SMC b4, how are these supposed guidelines pertinent 2 her case now being after the fact? If similar charges as Min Ng EH’s are unethical and Dr Susan Lim shdn’t hv made similar charges basing on his precedent charges, why is SMC silent on this in their public comment on Dr S Lim’s case? Is justice seen 2 b done by the SMC in this case?

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