Patient, 93, barred in hospital row
Ng Yuk-hang and Maggie Tam
A 93-year-old kidney patient who paid more than HK$4 million for treatment at a leading private hospital was expelled because of her daughter's 'excessive requests'.
The daughter, Yin Chow, was accused of repeated misconduct by bosses at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital for verbally abusing nurses, causing them 'enormous pressure and stress'.
They notified Chow that they were prepared to call in the police to remove them to safeguard the 'mental and physical health' of staff.
Chow filed a complaint to the Department of Health after her mother was transferred to another hospital on Sunday and the case is now being investigated. Chow, a certified accountant in her 40s, quit her job to become a full-time carer for her mother, who was admitted to the hospital in May last year.
She stayed at her mother's side around the clock but claimed the nurses were mistreating her mother.
She accused nurses of injecting her mother with too high a dose of cardiotonic, administered to raise her blood pressure. 'My mum kept sweating all night but I could find no one to help her,' she said.
But the hospital's deputy medical superintendent, Dr Tsao Yin-kai, wrote a letter to Chow early this month saying her mother had to go.
It said: 'Our staff members have been and continue to be under enormous pressure and stress. The hospital has now reached a stage where it can no longer cope and fulfil your wishes.' Due to the mother's condition, the hospital agreed to postpone the transfer until last week.
It then issued another letter to Chow, saying her insistence on staying amounted to 'trespass'.
It said the hospital might take further action such as 'removing either or both of you from its premises with the assistance of the Hong Kong Police Force and, if deemed necessary, an application to the High Court for an expulsion order'. It said some staff members were suffering from stress and depression. Joseph Chan Woon-tong, head of Women's Health and Obstetrics, said Chow had caused 'disruption in our ward, affecting our staff in normal duties'.
He added: 'Even though we expect to be condemned by the public and the media, we have to make this decision to safeguard the mental and physical health of our staff.'
A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that the case was being investigated.