Risky Blood Therapy
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 founder could face charges over blood treatments
The founder of a beauty centre distanced himself from the controversy over a medical treatment that left four women seriously ill, but still may be held criminally liable, lawyers said.
Dr Stephen Chow Heung-wing, founder and a director of the DR Group, earlier said his staff had only described the blood transfusion procedure as a "health therapy", and the chain had signed disclaimers with both doctors and clients. But lawyers said Chow could still face charges such as operating illegal medical practices or aiding and abetting.
The four women suffered septic shock and are in hospital.
Chow earlier said the women were referred by the chain to a doctor for the treatment whereby they had blood removed, treated in a laboratory to increase special cells found in white blood cells, and then reinfused at a treatment centre in Causeway Bay.
Chow founded the beauty centre and the Asia Pacific Stem Cell Science Limited laboratory, while the treatment centre is owned by two overseas companies with close ties to Chow.
Barrister and lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said it was likely that Chow and his firm would be charged with illegal medical practices if the transfusion was performed under the name of the beauty parlour. The Medical Clinics Ordinance requires all places that carry out medical treatments to be registered. "Of course it's not possible [to perform medical treatments in the beauty centre, even if a doctor was present]. It's not a hospital," Tong said.
The doctor who performed the treatment was less likely to be held criminally liable, but would probably face a disciplinary inquiry by the Medical Council.
Another lawyer Albert Luk Wai-hung said the most serious charge the doctor, the beauty parlour and Chow could face was manslaughter, if someone died.
Although DR Group was a limited company, Chow could still be charged with aiding and abetting in the case.
Meanwhile, a police source identified the doctor who performed the treatments as Dr Mak Wan-ling. He said she was not the only one responsible for performing transfusions at DR's Causeway Bay centre. Crime-squad officers interviewed Mak on Thursday, but no arrest had been made.
The beauty centre would not comment last night.