No blame over patient's death

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2011, 12:00am


A coroner ruled yesterday that a 51-year-old cancer patient who was found bleeding days after undergoing a procedure to remove a tumour died by misadventure.

Wong Choi-ngor died at Tuen Mun Hospital on March 5 last year, two days after the tumour was removed from her rectum and following a fall while walking.

The cause of death was given as disseminated intravascular coagulation - a disorder characterised by widespread blood coagulation - due to excessive bleeding, which in turn was due to her condition after the tumour removal. The ruling was given after a two-day inquest that was heard without a jury.

The coroner, Michael Chan Pik-kiu, accepted the opinion of Dr Janet Lee Fung-yee, a surgical consultant at Prince of Wales Hospital, given to the court earlier.

The coroner did not make any recommendations after reaching his verdict.

After the verdict was given Wong's widower, Fung Kwong-ho, wept as he left the court building. He was accompanied by three of his sons, aged 18 to 30.

Fung said he felt that the coroner had favoured the hospital over him.

'My wife died unjustly. Give me justice,' he said.

Wong's tumour was discovered in February last year and a minimally invasive procedure using small incisions was chosen over a traditional method using larger incisions.

She was admitted to hospital on March 3 and underwent the procedure. After surgery, her condition was described as normal and stable. Wong experienced no problems the following day after surgery and there was talk about the possibility of her being discharged in a few days.

Two days after the procedure Wong fell while she was walking. She was found with abdominal bleeding and underwent an operation. A doctor found one litre of blood in her abdominal cavity and one litre behind her peritoneum. She died hours later in hospital.

Dr Wong Kei-kwong earlier testified that when he operated on Wong, he had found large-scale blood loss behind her rear abdominal wall that appeared to have been going on 'for some time'.

He estimated that when he conducted the operation, Wong had already lost two litres of blood.

'There was large-scale bleeding where the previous operation had been carried out. It was like the blood was erupting from the vessels,' he said, adding that he did not have time to find any wound.

A report last year said family members who visited Wong immediately after the surgery said she had complained of feeling dizzy and tired. They were told by doctors that this was normal, Tuen Mun district councillor Li Kwai-fong, who is helping the family, was reported as saying.