Calls for open registry of hospital oversights

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2007, 12:00am

A recent series of surgical oversights has prompted calls for an open registry of medical incidents at Hong Kong's public hospitals.

Recently, a leukaemia patient died after a Prince of Wales Hospital doctor wrongly injected a chemotherapy drug into her spine instead of her veins. Gauze was left in a cancer patient's body after an operation at United Christian Hospital and questions were raised after three patients died at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after coronary angioplasty procedures.

The Hospital Authority's chief executive Shane Solomon has promised to publicise future medical incidents.

In line with the new policy of transparency, the Prince of Wales Hospital's cardiothoracic unit has published a report on its website showing mortality rates of procedures such as open-heart surgery, bypass grafting and valve replacements. The conclusion was that the hospital was 'performing better than predicted' when measured against international medical standards.

The Hospital Authority introduced an Advanced Incident Reporting System last year in an effort to encourage professional reviews so that lessons may be learnt and shared with other departments and hospitals. None of the information has been made public.

Only one of eight major surgical audits of recent years has been released by the Hospital Authority. It concerned a decision to centralise liver transplants at Queen Mary Hospital.