SINGAPORE, June 13 — While making a right turn towards the Tampines Expressway, a doctor failed to keep a lookout for cars that had the right of way and caused the death of a 96-year-old woman after a collision.

Ernest Fu Weizhong, 39, who is listed as a medical consultant on Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s website, was jailed for a week today.

He was disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for a period of two years with effect from the date of his release from prison.

He pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt by committing a negligent act that endangered human life. A second similar charge was taken into consideration for Fu’s sentencing.

What happened

On October 8 in 2019, Fu was travelling along Tampines Avenue 12 towards Tampines Avenue 9 when he stopped behind a line of vehicles at a junction leading to Tampines Expressway (TPE) at around 8pm.

Although the green arrow right-turn signal had yet to come on, Fu proceeded to make a discretionary right turn when the vehicles ahead of him started to move off.

At around the same time, Soon Jin Joke was travelling home after dinner in the opposite direction along Tampines Avenue 12. His mother Heng Fong Boey, then aged 96, was sitting in the backseat but did not put on a seatbelt.

Investigations showed that Soon was likely travelling at 80km/h — which was above the road’s speed limit of 60km/h — before he crossed the junction.

He had the right of way since the traffic light was green.

It was also found that the traffic lights were in working order when the accident happened.

Fu did not stop at the white line to look out for oncoming traffic before he made a right turn at his own discretion, which resulted in Soon’s car colliding head-on into the front left side of Fu’s car.

The impact of the collision caused Soon’s car to move backwards and collide into a third car driven by Muhammad Syarizan.

The impact also caused Heng to be “thrown forward and wedged at the front seat of the vehicle”, while the debris from the collision flew towards and damaged a fourth car that was travelling on a separate lane, court documents stated.

Heng was conscious when she was taken by an ambulance to the Changi General Hospital, where she was found to have bleeding in the skull along with fractures on her spine, ribs, thigh and pubic bones.

Medical reports stated that the older woman also had hypertension and she was suspected to have an underlying coronary artery disease and cardiac contusion resulting from the rib fracture.

Heng was admitted to a high dependency ward, but her condition deteriorated on October 11 — three days after the accident — and eventually died from her injuries on October 12.

Adjunct Associate Professor Chong Yew Lam, divisional chairman of surgery at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, told TODAY after the sentencing: “This is a very unfortunate incident. Our deepest condolences to the family for their loss.” Fu is still employed at the hospital.

“Our doctor has been with us for many years, caring for patients. We will be supporting him through this difficult time,” Assoc Prof Chong said.

Anyone found guilty of causing grievous hurt to any person through a rash or negligent act that endangers human life can be jailed up to two years or fined up to S$5,000 (RM15,811), or both. — TODAY