No negligence over hospital alarm, coroner's jury rules

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 12:00am

A 77-year-old patient who before his death complained about his emergency alarm being removed by nurses died of natural causes, the Coroner's Court ruled yesterday.

The case was transferred to the court for retrial last April, after a nurse at the Haven of Hope Hospital admitted to replacing a page of Mo Kam-tong's medical record, adding a line saying he had used the alarm before his death.

But the jury decided Mo suffered a natural death from cerebral hypoxia that led to organ failure. It ruled there was no negligence on the part of hospital staff.

The jury, however, recommended to the Hospital Authority that all patients' medical information should be entered into computers instead of kept on hand-written notes, and that corrections should not be allowed. Anything added should be filed as a supplementary note.

The Hospital Authority said it would consider the jury's recommendations.

Mo Wai-ming, son of the dead man, was disappointed with the verdict. 'How can they possibly rule that my father's death was natural? I am far from satisfied and I definitely will persist in my legal action against the hospital,' he said.

He would pursue the case through the police, the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Department of Justice, he said.

Mr Mo lodged a complaint with the authority in September 2003, after his mother retrieved two letters written by his father that mentioned a new nurse, and said she had removed his emergency alarm at night and returned it next morning. His family believed that removal of the alarm had contributed to his death.