Breast enlargement op in clinic risky, surgeon tells court

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 12:00am


The former chairman of the city's surgery specialty board told an inquest yesterday that he would refuse to perform breast-enhancement surgery like that which led to a woman's death unless it was in a hospital.

Dr Hwang Shu-tak, who was continuing his testimony in the investigation into 24-year-old Zoey Leung Kwan's death last year, said: 'I'd refuse to do it. I would only do it in a hospital.'

Hwang had helped in efforts to resuscitate Leung, who died after receiving an excessive amount of anaesthetic at Dr Wong Kar-mau's private clinic in Jordan on April 30, 2010.

Coroner Michael Chan Pik-kiu had asked Hwang if he would perform surgery similar to the one in question - with the same anaesthesia dosage in a clinic lacking emergency equipment such as advanced breathing apparatus and a cardiac monitor.

Hwang, who practises in the same building as Wong, also said he would have worked on the breasts separately. The Coroner's Court has heard that Wong injected the anaesthetic xylocaine into both Leung's breasts at the same time.

Wong admits the dosage he used exceeded guidelines, but says it was still acceptable.

Hwang, who has 30 years' experience as a surgeon, is a former head of the General Surgery Specialty Board of Hong Kong's College of Surgeons.

Leung wanted breast implants to surprise her boyfriend before her birthday, but started having breathing problems and twitching limbs after she was given anaesthesia. She lay in a coma at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and died on May 11 last year.

Dr Chan Choi-hung, from the hospital's intensive care unit, said in court yesterday that Leung was in a 'very critical condition' when she arrived. But he would not say if the hour-long resuscitation performed by doctors at the clinic was effective.