'Doctor lied to me over inducing labour', former actress Eugina Lau Mei-kuen tells hearing

Former actress tells hearing that labour was induced without her knowledge

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 6:35pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 9:57am

Former actress Eugina Lau Mei-kuen told a Medical Council hearing that her obstetrician lied to her when she induced her labour without her knowledge or permission.

Her first child, Cheung Tin-lam, died a day after being born at St Teresa's Hospital in Kowloon City in 2005. Obstetrician Dr Christine Choy Ming-yan and paediatrician Dr Wan Kam-ming were charged with professional misconduct after Lau and her husband, singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak, lodged a complaint.

The couple claim that Choy induced the baby by rupturing the amniotic membrane during a routine check-up a month before the child was due. Cheung earlier told the hearing that the couple believed Choy had induced labour because she had a trip planned, a claim Choy denies.

"She lied ... in breaking the amniotic membrane, and without my knowledge she used a labour-inducing drug," Lau testified. "On the morning that my baby died, she [Choy] said she was going to leave Hong Kong. It was as if this was all under her arrangement.

"As a mother I would not have chosen to give birth at that time, but she didn't give me a choice."

Choy's records, presented to the council, said she had suggested Lau opt for a caesarean section, both during the pregnancy and also on the night of delivery, but Lau refused because she wanted a natural delivery.

Lau said Choy had not made any such suggestion. She preferred to give birth naturally but, considering her age of 37, she asked for Choy's opinion. Choy reassured her that she was suitable for natural delivery.

Lau said she and her husband, who gave evidence last weekend, were friends with Choy at the time and had trusted her.

Choy's counsel, Kumar Ramanathan, asked Lau whether she blamed the doctors, given that she said she felt "betrayed" in her witness statement. He questioned whether she had a selective memory in not remembering Choy's advice and explanations.

Lau said the only thing she wanted from the hearing was the truth. Cheung added outside the hearing that the couple were not planning to seek compensation.

The council heard that Cheung drove Lau to the hospital at about noon on February 18, after her waters broke at Choy's clinic in Central. The baby was born after midnight with the help of a vacuum extractor. He was pale and unresponsive and suffered fetal stress. He died the next day, February 20, of bleeding on the scalp and organ failure.

A video of Lau's delivery was played in the hearing. The council's temporary chairwoman, Professor Felice Lieh Mak, heard a click in the room and suspected someone was taking photos, in breach of regulations. She asked secretaries to check the press and public's mobile phones.

When members of the media inquired as to what regulation the inspection was made under, the council replied that the chairman was protecting Lau's privacy and maintaining order. The hearing resumes on Saturday.