Caritas quick to help man who faints in lobby

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 January, 2009, 12:00am

The Caritas Medical Centre had learned from its recent mistake, with staff rushing to help a senior citizen who fainted in the hospital lobby yesterday, its chief executive, Ma Hok-cheung, says.

Dr Ma, who was speaking at a meeting of the Sham Shui Po District Council, said that the patient was taken to the emergency room in a wheelchair 'within minutes'.

'We realised that was faster than transporting the patient in an ambulance. We have been thinking of ways to transport patients more quickly to the emergency room,' he said.

Dr Ma's comments came a day after the hospital submitted a report to the Hospital Authority, chronicling a December 20 incident which claimed the life of logistics company owner Yeung Tak-cheung. Yeung died while awaiting treatment at the entrance of the hospital, after a receptionist told his son to call an ambulance.

Aside from the suggestions put forward in the report, Dr Ma said the hospital would set up a hotline which directly connected callers with the emergency room without going through an operator. 'We will think of ways to get our colleagues to pick up the calls, so that callers can get a response as soon as possible.'

Meanwhile, 14 portable automated external defibrillators (AEDs), out of a total of 200 for all public hospitals and clinics, would be allocated to the Caritas Medical Centre, the Hospital Authority's Kowloon West cluster chief, Lily Chiu Lei-lei, told the meeting.

Instead of criticising the hospital for its blunder, most district councilors offered encouragement for 'their beloved hospital' which had served Sham Shui Po for many years.

'We are not here to blame the hospital and find out who is responsible, because the Caritas we know is not [as cold-blooded],' said district councillor and legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. 'We hope the hospital can show more sincerity in helping patients.'

Meanwhile, a doctor and nurse from Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital's accident and emergency department were sent to help a man, 72, after he collapsed outside its main block yesterday.

A cleaner found the man near a taxi stand at about 10am and sought help from a receptionist, who alerted the emergency department. The man, who had been on his way to an outpatient department, was in stable condition last night.