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.
Dead women's husband accuses beauty chain of treating her badly
Husband makes claim after spouse died following high-risk beauty treatment
A man whose wife died after undergoing a high-risk beauty procedure said he had no idea she had received the treatment and accused the salon operator of treating her like a guinea pig.
He wanted to know how she had been persuaded to pay for such treatment, which went against her usual nature.
"She was not the type of person who was into prettying herself up. She seldom wore make-up. I want to know why she suddenly did such a thing," said the widower of Chan Yuen-lam, who has been left with two teenage children.
He gave only his surname, Yeung.
Yeung said his wife was not a big spender but that the blood therapy she received at the DR beauty chain had cost HK$50,000.
Chan, 46, was previously healthy and owned a restaurant with her husband. She fell ill after receiving intravenous infusions at the chain's Causeway Bay centre for the first time on October 3 and was admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai.
It was then that Yeung realised his wife had had high-risk beauty treatments. She was diagnosed with septic shock and infected by a rare superbug. She died a week later.
They had been married for more than 20 years and Yeung said they had a good relationship. They would discuss different things together but he had never heard her mention anything about undergoing beauty treatments.
"Our family feels torn apart," Yeung said. "If I had known earlier, I wouldn't have let her do it," he said referring to the treatment.
"We are in such grief. She became a guinea pig and was sacrificed for no good reason. I can't believe this happened in a well-developed society."
Experts have said that the effectiveness of the treatment, usually used on cancer patients, has not been proven.
Yeung is furious that the DR chain of beauty salons has still not contacted him to explain what went wrong with his wife's procedure.
"We are very angry. The company has not been in touch with us, expressed concern or apologised to us," he said. "Much is unknown about my wife's death. I hope there will be a thorough investigation to find out the truth and give her justice."
Yeung said it was too early to consider seeking compensation, but added that he had sought legal advice.
He felt "fear" about the company's "horrifying" practices, and wanted the firm to tell him about the treatment his wife underwent.
Three women who also received the treatment at the chain remain in hospital.