Threat of action against Hospital Authority over baby mix-up

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 May, 2008, 12:00am

Kelvin Li Kwok-yin, who was swapped at birth 31 years ago, is considering legal action against the Hospital Authority if it does not reply to a second demand for an explanation.

In a letter being sent to the authority this week, Mr Li is again demanding an official explanation of what happened and who was responsible.

The authority has not replied to a letter he wrote two weeks ago.

Mr Li is also calling on the authority to review how it updates patients' addresses, after 30 per cent of 180 letters sent to people asking them to come forward for a DNA test were returned.

The Hospital Authority in February asked 180 mothers who delivered babies at the then Tsan Yuk Hospital between November 28 and December 14 in 1976 to take DNA tests after the incident came to light at the end of last year.

'I am very disappointed and very dissatisfied,' Mr Li said. 'It seems the authority is not trying its best to help. I can understand why so many letters bounced back, because it's been 31 years and many address records were not updated.

'But why couldn't they use alternative means, such as contacting the Immigration Department and the Inland Revenue Department for updated addresses?'

Mr Li said he had been told the authority had received five inquiries since the letters were sent out but none had taken a DNA test.

So far only one man, who identified himself as Ah Hung, who was born in the same hospital on the same day, has approached the authority and taken the test.

Mr Li said he and his family knew it was not easy to get people to come forward to take the test.

But what upset him most was the authority's attitude. 'I have sent two e-mails and made phone calls in the past two months asking for an update and an explanation of the incident,' he said. But they haven't replied.

'So they gave me no choice but to send them a letter from my lawyer, hoping they will provide me with an official answer.'

The Hospital Authority has said it is communicating with relevant departments to see what further assistance can be provided to Mr Li.

It said that of the five people who had replied to the letter, none had provided relevant information or come forward to take a DNA test.

It said it was making arrangements for another man, who was referred by a media outlet, to take the test.

Mr Li discovered late last year that he had been swapped when his sister realised his blood type meant he could not possibly be his mother's natural son. The search for the truth extended to the Chuk Yuen Children's Reception Centre. The woman Mr Li knows as his mother had decided to give her baby up for adoption and it was put in the home for a month until she changed her mind.

The Social Welfare Department said it was extremely unlikely the mix-up happened there because the centre never had many newborns at any one time.