Multimillion-dollar payout likely for blunder

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2007, 12:00am

The family of a cancer patient who died at Prince of Wales Hospital yesterday after a serious medical blunder left her in critical condition last month are expected to receive a multimillion-dollar payout.

A doctor in the oncology department wrongly injected a chemotherapy drug into the woman's spine instead of a vein.

The doctor has since been suspended from clinical duties.

After fighting for her life for more than three weeks, the leukaemia patient died yesterday just before noon. She was 21.

In a statement, the hospital expressed 'deep grief at the death of the patient and offered the deepest condolences and apologies to the family of the patient'.

It said it would provide the necessary assistance to the family and assist the investigation of the Hospital Authority's special panel, which was set up days after the blunder. A report is expected at the end of this month.

Solicitor Daniel Wong Kwok-tung said people handicapped from an accident could usually win more compensation, which could be tens of millions of dollars, if they could prove a loss of potential earning power, and the huge life-long health care expenses incurred. But compensation to the family of a deceased patient might be considerably lower, such as a few million dollars.

But Mr Wong said it was difficult to estimate because the authority did not disclose details of settlements.

Solicitor Lau Kar-wah said because the patient was a student and already had leukaemia, it was unlikely her family would receive a very high payout.