Hospital asked to explain boy's death

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 October, 2011, 12:00am


The health minister asked hospital chiefs yesterday to clearly explain the blunder that led to the death of a 13-year-old boy in August - but the boy's family said York Chow Yat-ngok was not doing enough.

Chow, the secretary for food and health, was responding to questions about the row over the death of Medwin Cheung Yui-ting, whose parents have accused the Hospital Authority of not telling them the full story.

Cheung died 18 days after a 10-hour operation at Tuen Mun Hospital on August 4 to fix a misalignment of two vertebrae in his neck.

'I believe the Hospital Authority should explain the whole operation procedure,' Chow said yesterday, admitting he did not know the full facts himself. Asked if the hospital informed the family beforehand of the operation's high risk, Chow said: 'I am not sure what was discussed between doctors and the family. I do not think there was any problem in terms of expertise. But whether the procedure itself went awry I do not know because I do not have the report yet.'

Cheng Miu-wah, the boy's mother, asked why Chow had not asked what the family was told: 'It's ridiculous and irresponsible of him ... He said he hoped to help us, but all he did was speak to the media - not us.'

The family was told after the operation that it had been successful and the doctors decided to remove the breathing tube. But Yui-ting had breathing difficulties, and his heart stopped for a period shortly afterwards. It took doctors 25 minutes to restore his breathing. Yui-ting was then transferred to the intensive care unit where he died. They family was given a report from an investigation panel on Monday but Cheng said she was dissatisfied with it and wanted to see a second report that contains experts' comments. The case has been referred to the Coroner's Court.

A Hospital Authority spokesman said its chief executive Leung Pak-yin would meet the family next week.