Medic 'didn't mislead on fatal Tuen Mun surgery'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 6:07am

A medic whose teenage patient died after surgery on his neck did not call the procedure "almost zero" risk, a doctor told an inquest into the death yesterday.

Cheng Miu-wah, 43, had told the court that the overseas expert had given the reassurance days before her son, Medwin Cheung Yui-ting, 13, had the operation.

But neurosurgeon Wong Sui-to said Dachling Pang, from the University of California, Davis, had not made this claim.

Wong, who was at the meeting on August 1 and one of the medics to operate on Cheung, admitted the surgery was "prophylactic" rather than "urgent".

Wong told the court: "I said yes when Cheng asked me: 'If Cheung were your son, would you allow him to undergo the surgery?'"

Cheung was sent to an intensive care unit after undergoing occipitocervical fusion surgery at Tuen Mun Hospital on August 4, 2011. He died there on August 22.

Previous X-ray scans had shown that two of the teenager's neck bones were misaligned and putting pressure on his nerves, the court heard.

The US professor had carried out two similar cervical operations on children in June and October 2010 at the hospital.

Wong said that Pang was at Tuen Mun hospital for a conference on paediatric spinal surgery, which was part of the Hospital Authority's commission training programme.

When barrister Leung Wai-man, representing the deceased's family, put to Wong that Cheung's case was picked for the commission's training programme, he confirmed this.

But Wong reiterated that the case was not selected solely for education purposes.

The inquest also heard that when Wong met Cheung's mother at a consultation session on July 8, he told her it would be Pang who would carry out the operation, if she decided to let her son undergo it.

"I passed the English full-name to the parents," Wong said.

Pang will testify today before Coroner Philip Wong Wai-kuen and the jury.