One woman died and three were critically ill after paying HK$50,000 in October 2012 for "anti-cancer" blood transfusion therapy at a beauty centre. In the procedure, blood is drawn from the patient, then processed to harvest the "cytokine-induced killer cells", or CIK, found in the white blood cells. The CIK cells are multiplied in a culture solution and injected into the patient along with their own blood after two weeks. The founder of the DR beauty company that carried out the treatment, Dr Stephen Chow Heung-wing, has admitted there was no evidence the treatment worked.
Beauty centre defends treatment after 3 customers become ill
Lai Ying-kit and Jennifer Cheng
A beauty treatment centre - which is under an investigation after three women who received treatment there fell ill - said on Friday the procedures were performed by doctors hired from outside the centre.
The three women remained in hospital in a critical condition on Friday afternoon.
They developed septic shocks and intravascular coagulapathy after receiving intravenous infusions at the beauty treatment centre called “DR” in Causeway Bay.
Responding to the cases, the “DR Esthetic Centre Limited”, which operates the outlet, said the treatment was conducted under the supervision of individual doctors hired from outside the centre. It also said doctors assessed customers’ conditions to determine whether they were suitable for the treatment.
The company said it would also co-operate with health officials and police in their investigation of the cases.
The company’s response came after Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man expressed shock over the cases and pledged a thorough investigation. “The incidents are very serious. I am very shocked,” he said.
Ko said intravenous infusions involved extracting blood from a person and then injecting it back into her veins. He said these were medical procedures that must be performed under the supervision of doctors.
The centre’s door was packed by reporters for most of Friday, but it continued to receive customers, including one who said she was there for a facial. The centre’s staff refused to take reporters’ inquires and at one point told them they might call police.
Other customers said that after hearing about the sick women, they had demanded a refund at the beauty centre.
Two women, who went to the centre on Friday, said they bought packages for facial treatments. When they saw reporters outside the centre, they covered their faces.
One of them, who did not give her name, said she was “scared after watching the news” even though she did not have an intravenous infusion. The woman said she would go for a medical check-up.
The Causeway Bay beauty centre occupies shop space on four different floors inside the McDonald Building on Yee Wo Street. A ground level beauty product store, which is on the same street, stayed open on Friday.
At 10am, before the centre opened, staff wearing facemasks covered the windows with paper, making it impossible to look in.
The “DR Esthetic Centre Limited” has 40 outlets in the city.