Bioethics Blogs

Overtreating Physician Fined & Barred from Treating Terminally Ill Patients

I have collected many cases in which clinicians were sanctioned for treating more aggressively than the patient desired.  To this list, I will be adding Medical Board v. Siow. 


His patient was dying.  But Dr. Siow continued to provide interventions that were “unnecessary, futile, [and] of no beneficial effect.”  And he failed to prescribe palliative care.  

Dr. Siow “engendered . . . an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment and prolongation of his life.”  This “deflected the patient from accepting and concentrating on his realistic medical state and diverted him taking the the palliative care advice and thereby caused distress and unnecessary pain.”  

The Health Practitioners Tribunal ordered Dr. Siow to pay the tribunal costs plus a $12,000 fine.  The tribunal ordered him to submit to substantial counseling and oversight.  And the Tribunal barred Dr. Siow from treating “any patient he knows to be suffering from cancer or a terminal illness.”

We will be seeing more cases like this – professional discipline for over-treatment.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.