'We just want truth about our baby's death,' say celebrity couple as they await verdict

Actress and singer urge Medical Council to be 'cautious' as they deliberate on doctor's culpability in newborn's death

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 May, 2014, 6:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 10:24am

Former actress Eugina Lau Mei-kuen and her husband singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak have spent the past nine years searching for an answer to what caused the death of their newborn son.

Yesterday they thought that wait was over, when the Medical Council retired to discuss its verdict in a disciplinary case against obstetrician Dr Christine Choy Ming-yan and paediatrician Dr Wan Kam-ming. Instead, the council adjourned its judgment to May 25.

"We trust that they're being very cautious, though we're a bit disappointed," said Lau. "We have waited for nine years, we can wait for two more weeks."

The couple's first child, Tin-lam, was born on February 19, 2005, and died the next day. The doctors are accused of mishandling the induced birth.

Cheung said he and his wife were seeking the truth about their baby's death - rather than a judgment on the doctors. "The answer is for the public - whether there are any problems in Hong Kong's medical system; if there are, how it can be avoided in the future. We're satisfied that a hearing has been held. If they think there's no problem, we'll let go."

The council's temporary chairman, professor Felice Lieh Mak, said a consensus had been reached but that the case was complicated and the council needed more time to write the judgment.

In the past 10 hearing sessions, which have spanned the past eight months, prosecution witnesses accused Choy and Wan of mishandling the induction, the vacuum-assisted birth, and the treatment of the baby. Defence witnesses said the two had done their best.

In 2008 the couple filed a civil claim against the doctors which was settled outside court the following year with HK$150,000 compensation. The couple filed the civil claim not for the money but to obtain medical reports for the Medical Council's hearing.

"The process was very difficult. We had to recall the incident in detail many, many times, even more than in the past 10 hearing sessions," said Lau.

"I hope this incident will help the public, that the medical system will be more concerned over the public's needs and their lives."

Lau, who has a daughter, 5, and a son, 7, added: "Today, I have two children saying 'happy Mother's Day' to me. Nine years ago today I didn't even know whether I was a mother."