Still no answers from Prince of Wales Hospital for Manila bus siege survivor Yik Siu-ling

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 3:46am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 3:46am

The latest meeting between Manila hostage crisis survivor Yik Siu-ling and the Prince of Wales Hospital has again failed to clarify if public relations concerns were put ahead of her medical needs in 2010.

For the second time, senior management refused to show Yik the complete e-mail correspondence between the hospital and Professor Andrew Burd, who retired as head of plastic surgery and facial reconstruction at the Sha Tin hospital in August.

Yik got only a glimpse of three e-mails that indicated concerns about misleading the press - on top of medical reasons - if her operation went ahead before the scheduled date of September 13, 2010.

Yik said she would "not accept the hospital's explanation".

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun and Yik's lawyer John Clancey accompanied her to the meeting with hospital chief executive Dr Hung Chi-tim, consultant surgeon Professor Paul Lai Bo-san and their team of lawyers.

In a December 28 outburst, Burd accused Prince of Wales administrators of prioritising media and public relations over Yik's treatment in refusing his request to operate on her on September 8 so he could inspect her wound earlier for signs of infection.

The new e-mails Yik and her team saw revealed that the hospital did mention medical reasons for not performing her operation any earlier than September 13.

But the records also mentioned "non-medical" reasons - the media had been informed of her operation date and any change would "mislead the press" and create a public relations problem for the hospital.

All three e-mails were dated September 4, 2010. The names of the senders and receivers were crossed out, To said. "The hospital said it wanted to explain the entire issue but refused to show us all the … correspondence."

The hospital has dismissed Burd's claims as "unsubstantiated", attributing them to a falling-out with former colleagues. Yesterday it told Yik's team to "wait for further notice". Burd could not be reached for comment.

"I want to know the reason why Burd would say this," Yik said. "I want to know the truth." Her jaw was shattered during the August 2010 bus siege. She had a successful reconstruction operation in Taiwan in December.