High Court orders paediatrician Alvin Chan to pay out over medical blunder
Paediatrician ordered to pay damages over failure to heal injury which led to amputation
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The High Court ruled that a prominent paediatrician must pay a family compensation for the botched treatment of their son's injured finger that led to gangrene and amputation.
The HK$314,608 in damages awarded against Dr Alvin Chan Yee-shing were significantly less than the HK$6 million sought by the parents, but higher than the HK$260,000 that Chan had said he was willing to pay.
Bosco Law Yin-pok, now four years old, had half of his right ring finger amputated after Chan's treatment for a wound when Bosco was 14 months old, Deputy High Court Justice Conrad Seagroatt said in his judgment.
Chan is a private paediatric specialist and Hong Kong Medical Association vice-president.
Bosco injured his finger in August 2009 when he put it into a hole in an iron gate as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother. He was rushed to a public hospital, but his father decided to transfer him to a private hospital, where Chan treated him with a medical adhesive and bandage.
"It appears that Dr Chan did not open the bandage to inspect the progress of the wound for some days. When eventually he did so, it was clear that the condition of his finger had deteriorated, the blood supply had been severely restricted and gangrene had started to develop," the judge wrote. "Since liability was wisely conceded, there is no need for me to review the shortcomings in the assessment and treatment by [Chan]. They are self-evident in an extremely obvious way."
About half the finger was amputated on September 30 after unsuccessful attempts to deal with the infection during the boy's nine-day hospital stay. He later spent another two weeks in hospital for antibiotic treatment.
The compensation covered the boy's pain, suffering and loss of amenity, occupational therapy, prosthesis, psychological counselling and other expenses.
The judge denied a claim for the boy's loss of future earnings, ruling that the young adapted quickly to physical limitations.
The parents are also claiming more than HK$4 million for their own psychological trauma from the incident, which will be dealt with in a separate hearing.
The Medical Council earlier found that there was no case to answer with regard to negligence or misconduct, Chan said.