Experts disagree on state of Nina's blood

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 July, 2009, 12:00am

The debate over late billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum's mental competence to make the alleged will that leaves her vast fortune to her fung shui master continued in court yesterday with more conflicting evidence from medical experts testifying for the rival claimants.

A day after two psychiatrists differed on whether she was suffering from delirium when she signed the document - and whether it mattered anyway - two respiratory specialists were similarly split.

Duncan Geddes, a professor in respiratory medicine from Britain, told the Court of First Instance that a drop in haemoglobin levels in the cancer-stricken billionaire's blood around the time she signed the will in October 2006 would not have affected her mental functions.

Professor Geddes, testifying for fung shui master Tony Chan Chun-chuen, said Wang's body would by then have adjusted to levels of haemoglobin - the protein in blood that carries oxygen - that had been consistently quite low about that time.

But Hong Kong expert Roland Leung, for the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, said the drop would have prevented her brain from functioning properly. He said her mental functions would have been further affected by a significant loss of blood around that time that would have reduced oxygen levels in her brain.

On Monday, Cambridge University professor Peter Jones said medical records and evidence to the court during the protracted probate hearing indicated Wang was suffering from delirium. But Oxford University expert Robin Jacoby said there was no conclusive evidence of delirium, which in any case would not necessarily have affected her ability to sign the document.

Yesterday, on the 35th day of the hearing, the court heard Wang had had three blood transfusions during treatment in Singapore, during which her haemoglobin level had risen from 8.6 on October 9 to 10.4 two days later. But it had dropped back to 7.6 by October 18. She signed the alleged will on October 16.

The court also heard Wang had gained three kilograms, from 40kg on October 4 to 43kg on October 16. Professor Geddes said the weight gain indicated Wang's condition had not been deteriorating during the period.

He said her haemoglobin levels had been persistently around 8 to 9 - a relatively low level to which her body would have adjusted as normal. The rise in her haemoglobin levels after the transfusions also indicated her body's compensation system had been operating to regenerate the supply of oxygen to her brain, keeping her mental function unaffected.

But Dr Leung said the subsequent rapid fall in the level would have affected her mental function.

The hearing continues before Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon.