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.
Victim's relative accuses DR beauty chain of being 'irresponsible'
A relative of one of the women who fell seriously ill last week after a “beauty therapy” accused the DR centre of being irresponsible and making no effort to contact the victims.
A man, who would only give his name as Mr Leung, said he was related to the woman who was in a serious condition at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai.
“Someone has died,” he said. “But after so many days, there has been no assistance [and no contact from DR]. I think this is really irresponsible.”
A 46-year-old woman, Chan Yuen-lam, died on Tuesday. Chan contracted a rare superbug, Mycobacterium abscessus, after treatment at one of DR’s centres in Causeway Bay.
Leung’s relative is in serious condition, while the other two are critical and stable.
The women fell ill after paying the DR chain of beauty centres HK$50,000 for a risky blood procedure.
He said his relative was apparently unaware of the dangers associated with the treatment.
“Had she known that it could be fatal, would we have agreed with her receiving it?” he asked outside Ruttonjee Hospital.
He appealed to other affected clients to approach him so they could together seek legal action and damages against the beauty chain.
Describing the woman’s condition, he said: “Her hands have turned totally black and blue now, her foot is slightly festered. I could see she’s not quite conscious. She had difficulty speaking.”
He said she had bone marrow drawn yesterday as part of her treatment.
Leung said the woman had had numerous conventional facial treatments with DR.
“Maybe later on someone marketed her this so-called medical facial item,” he said adding that the treatment had cost more than tens of thousands of dollars.
After the blood transfusion, he said, “she was feeling dizzy, and [DR] staff only gave her some medicine to take, then sent her home.
Earlier yesterday, beauty salons said they would draft guidelines to regain the trust of consumers after “high-risk” treatments that allegedly led to the death of Chan.
The trade also plans to set up in two months the first indemnity insurance plan for salons, to compensate customers if a treatment goes wrong.
Federation of Beauty Industry chairman Nelson Yip Sai-hung said the trade was acting now because the government review of regulations and possible law changes, announced this week, would take too long.
The government said on Thursday it had set up a 20-member review panel headed by health minister Dr Ko Wing-man that would report in a year on the operation of health clinics, including beauty salons.