Doctor banned over death of ex-actress Eugina Lau's newborn baby

Medical Council finds obstetrician botched delivery of ex-actress Eugina Lau's son

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 5:31am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 May, 2014, 7:49am

The doctor who delivered a former actress' baby who died a day later was yesterday convicted of professional misconduct and had her name removed from the medical register for two years.

The Medical Council found obstetrician Christine Choy Ming-yan improperly induced Eugina Lau Mei-kuen and failed to give the infant effective resuscitation. It found Choy guilty of four of seven allegations.

Paediatrician Wan Kam-ming was found not guilty of failing to properly transfer the baby boy to effective neonatal intensive care. The verdict came after 10 hearings since January and two days of discussions.

"Dr Choy was adamant that what she did was proper and correct. This only showed her lack of insight into her wrongdoings," acting council chairwoman Felice Lieh Mak said.

On February 18, 2005, Choy broke Lau's water at her Central clinic to induce birth without Lau's informed consent. She delivered baby boy Cheung Tin-lam with a vacuum extractor at St Teresa's Hospital the next day. The baby was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital the same day and died of bleeding in the scalp and organ failure on February 20.

"The mistakes caused the passing of our baby," said Lau's husband, singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak. "After hearing the council's interpretations, it was like a case of manslaughter, like our baby was killed."

The couple first filed a complaint to the council in 2005, but it rejected it after reviewing the medical records. In 2009, they filed another complaint after obtaining an expert report through a civil claim against the doctors.

Yesterday, the council found Choy was not justified in breaking Lau's amniotic sac and had not told her of the risks. Choy should not have performed the procedure in a clinic and should have had a paediatrician on hand when the extraction was prolonged. She also did not do enough to help the baby breathe.

Choy's lawyer, Kumar Ramanathan SC, said the doctor had since stopped doing artificial amniotic sac ruptures in clinics and now had a team of paediatricians standing by for every delivery. "It was a one-off, unfortunate and tragic incident," he said.

As for Wan, the council found the paediatrician should have transferred the baby sooner when he realised that St Teresa could not give it proper neonatal intensive care. It ruled that Wan had made a wrong clinical judgment, but was not guilty of professional misconduct.