Doctor charged with ‘professional misconduct’ over death of celebrity couple’s child

Medical Council hears evidence from singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak in case of the death of his first-born child with former actress Eugina Lau Mei-kuen

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 3:29pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 5:39pm


More on this story

A doctor facing a Medical Council hearing over the death of singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak's newborn baby has been accused of inappropriately inducing the birth and arriving late for the delivery.

Obstetrician Christine Choy Ming-yan, who delivered former actress Eugina Lau Mei-kuen's first child in 2005, is charged with professional misconduct. Paediatrician Wan Kam-ming faces the same charge.

The baby was pale and unresponsive after birth at St. Teresa's Hospital and was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital later that day. He died a day after the birth, the Medical Council heard.

The couple visited Choy's clinic for a check-up on the morning of February 18, 2005 - almost a month before the baby's due date of March 11. Lau showed no signs of labour and Choy ruptured her amniotic membrane, declaring Lau ready to give birth without further explanation, Cheung testified yesterday.

"We were very shocked," he told the hearing. "It was a normal check-up; then she said the baby is ready to be born. We hadn't even prepared the delivery bag."

Cheung said they trusted and had become friends with Choy.

He later learned that Choy had left Hong Kong for a trip several days after the delivery. He said he wondered whether it was the reason she induced the labour. Choy's lawyer said the trip was scheduled afterwards.

After the consultation the couple drove home to pack their things, following Choy's advice. Lau's waters broke in an elevator as they made their way to the car. They arrived back at the hospital around noon.

Choy told the couple she would arrive soon. She got to the hospital at 11pm, 12 hours after she ruptured the membrane, Cheung said. She had attended her brother's birthday party that day, Cheung testified.

A video of the labour taken by Cheung was shown to the council. The baby, Cheung Tin-lam, was born after midnight on February 19 with the help of a vacuum extractor. He was not crying and was unresponsive.

In previous check-ups, Choy had said the baby was growing well. Choy had not suggested to the couple that they should opt for a caesarean section instead of natural delivery, Cheung said.

The baby was given breathing support under Wan's care. That evening, Wan decided that he should be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Resuscitation was performed at the neonatal intensive care unit there. He died the following day.

On the day the baby died, Cheung said, Choy explained to the couple that using the vacuum extractor had caused the death, and she told them she would not have used it if she had known the result.

She was crying and was "out of control", said Cheung, and he had chased after her out of the room and comforted her.

The hearing continues on January 12.