Plucky Yik Siu-ling is 'doing fine'

Hostage survivor's intricate jaw surgery completed and looking good

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 5:04am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 7:37am

Manila hostage crisis survivor Yik Siu-ling is said by her doctors to be doing fine after undergoing complex surgery to rebuild her shattered lower jaw at one of Taiwan's leading hospitals.

"Blood circulation in the skin area around her newly built lower jaw, face and neck is normal and steady" Chang Gung Memorial Hospital said in a statement yesterday, its first comments since the 37-year-old underwent the tricky 10-hour operation on Wednesday.

The hospital said that Yik was able to breathe easily by herself, and had a breathing aid removed the day after the operation.

The hospital said the surgery, led by a team of top craniofacial and microsurgical reconstruction specialists and physicians, involved incision of the scar contractures caused by her previous surgical operations in Hong Kong, followed by the reconstruction of her lower jaw.

Part of her calf bone was removed to form the basis of her reconstructed jaw, the hospital said, adding that Yik was admitted to an intensive care ward shortly after the operation for special attention.

Hospital sources said it would be some time before Yik was able to talk. She would offer no press interviews nor appear at press conferences for the time being.

Yik underwent 33 operations in Hong Kong, which also included the implantation of bone from one of her calves.

But problems with inflammation and bone abnormality led to the removal of the implants in August, leaving her back at square one.

Yik's surgery is being financed by Filipino businessmen as part of an attempt to reconcile Manila and Hong Kong, more than three years after eight Hongkongers, including their tour guide, died at the hands of sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza.

Negotiations over funding for Yik's treatment were part of a wider discussion between Hong Kong and Manila about compensation and an apology for the 14 Hongkongers who survived the tragedy.

Yik has been in Taiwan awaiting treatment since December 11. Dr Wei Fu-chan, the surgeon leading the team, said before the surgery that there was a chance Yik would be able to return to Hong Kong in time for the Lunar New Year holiday late next month.

A mother of one, Yik said in August that she had been unable to work since the tragedy.

Watch: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident