Authorities investigating father's hospital complaint over newborn

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 January, 2010, 12:00am

Health authorities are investigating allegations by a man that his wife and newborn son received poor treatment at Baptist Hospital that resulted in the boy suffering convulsions and requiring intensive care.

The boy was delivered at the Kowloon Tong hospital on December 19, about 17 days early. A doctor said the child and his mainland mother were both healthy and could leave the hospital in three days, the father, also a mainlander, told a Chinese-language newspaper.

But the father said the boy had convulsions at about 3am, 5am and 6.50am on December 22 and the parents were not told until 8.30am, when a doctor found the boy had a fever, the report said.

A hospital spokeswoman said last night that at 3am that day the baby was found to have vomited and to be suffering limb spasms. The duty nurse immediately put him under observation in an incubator, administered oxygen and informed the attending paediatrician.

The boy was stable for several hours, she said, but suffered more spasms and a falling oxygen level at about 7am. When a doctor arrived at 7.55am, a neonatal fit was detected and meningitis was suspected.

The spokeswoman said the doctor told the parents of the boy's condition and treatment plan at about 8am, and the decision to transfer the boy to a public hospital was made after a discussion. The boy was taken that day to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei, where he remained last night in stable condition in intensive care.

The father suspected the boy might have developed meningitis because he was not transferred quickly enough to the public hospital, the newpaper report said.

He believed the concentration of oxygen given to the boy at Baptist Hospital was not high enough, and he said he was angry at the hospital because it had not responded to his inquiries. The father called the police on December 30 after he asked the hospital for the medical records of the boy and his mother and failed to get them, the report said.

Baptist Hospital said the case was reported to the Department of Health, which said it had received a complaint on December 30 about how the hospital handled the boy's convulsions and its failure to release the medical records. It was investigating the matter.