I felt violated after doctor took pictures of me, says writer
Lee Ewe Poh, 50, a former journalist, testified yesterday that it was as if general and colo-rectal surgeon Dr Lim Teik Mau had no regard for her dignity and self-respect.
She named Dr Lim and Loh Guan Lye & Sons Sdn Bhd as defendants in her suit for trespass against her person.
Lee said she underwent a procedure known as stapler haemorrhoidectomy at the Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre here on Dec 21, 2006, and found out from a nurse six days later that Dr Lim had photographed her private parts.
She said that when she confronted Dr Lim, he was initially evasive but later admitted taking the photographs and qualified it by saying that he did it for medical purposes.
“He said the photographs were necessary as reference materials to be shown to his other patients. I lambasted him as to how he could do such a thing and without informing me,” said Lee.
She said she would have objected to any such photographs taken during the procedure.
Cross-examined by Dr Lim’s counsel T. Sagadaven, Lee said the doctor had only offered to delete the photographs after she demanded the digital camera’s memory card.
Lee agreed that the photographs, shown to her by the police, were confined to the anus area and that her face was not visible.
She disagreed that Dr Lim took the photographs to explain to her the outcome of the procedure and not for any other purposes.
Dr Lim testified that it was common and acceptable medical practice to take photographs of patients under sedation.
He said he took two photographs in this case – one before the operation and one after, and did not in any way alter or crop the images.
Asked by Sagadaven if he had any intention to violate Lee’s privacy, Dr Lim said he took the photographs with the intention to help the patient understand the procedure.
Questioned by the hospital’s counsel Ramsun Ho, Dr Lim agreed that the two photographs were taken in a clinical environment.
Dr Lim agreed that a patient’s consent was important but said it was not possible for surgeons to disclose all the technicalities of a procedure to the patients.
He also said he did not inform Lee about the possibility of photographs being taken.
The hearing before Judicial Commissioner Chew Soo Ho continues.
20th August 2010