Kidney stone op did not cause death, inquest decides

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 July, 2012, 12:00am


A woman's death shortly after she had a kidney stone operation was not caused by the surgery, the Coroner's Court found yesterday.

Mother-of two Man Oi-hing, 60, a garden manager, was ruled to have died of natural causes at Tuen Mun Hospital in May last year. Man's family suspected the operation led to her death because it left a small bit of the stone in her urinary system.

They wondered if the fragment created an obstruction, leading to bacterial infection and death.

But expert witness Professor Anthony Ng Chi-fai, a urology specialist at Chinese University, said the surgical procedures were carried out correctly. He told the inquest that since the stone fragment was smaller than 5mm, the body could have discharged it naturally.

Coroner Wong Wai-kuen noted yesterday that another obstruction in Man's body was not in the same place as the speck of kidney stone.

It was caused by blood clots that formed after the surgery, Wong said.

'If you decide that the death was not related to the surgery, that would be death by natural causes.

'If you think unexpected complications occurred due to the surgery, that would be death by misadventure,' Wong advised the jury.

The jury found by four votes to one for death by natural causes.

Man, of Yuen Long, had her kidney stone removed on May 11 by a surgical technique known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy, which uses a small puncture wound.

She was discharged on May 16 with no signs of infection, but was readmitted the next day with a fever.

The following day a stent was surgically implanted to treat a swollen urine duct and doctors found the small fragment of kidney stone as well as blood clots.

Man was admitted to intensive care with the drug-resistant E. coli infection and died on May 23.

An autopsy report cited the cause of death as coronary heart disease. Records showed Man had an irregular heartbeat.

Dr Man Chi-wai, chief of surgery at Tuen Mun Hospital, told the inquest that Man's family had tried several times to discuss her condition with him before she was discharged. But they did not meet because of miscommunication and a hospital policy that forbids such meetings at weekends.

After the ruling Man's husband, Man Chung-hing, 65, claimed the inquest had been 'pointless'.

He said angrily outside the court: 'She had not recovered and they discharged her.'

He suggested a doctor may have caused his wife's bleeding and clotting by pressing her abdomen during a check-up.

But he said he had no money to take legal action.