Manila hostage crisis

Surviving Manila bus hostage still weighing hospital lawsuit over surgery

Hong Kong hospital could face action in court over its handling of shoot-out survivor whose reconstructive surgery had to be reversed later

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 4:52am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 2:36pm

Hospital chiefs may still face legal action over the treatment of Manila bus hostage survivor Yik Siu-ling, four years after a botched rescue in the Philippine capital left eight Hongkongers dead and seven injured.

Yik's lawyers said they were still studying details of a report into her treatment at the Prince of Wales Hospital and were awaiting copies of key emails.

The news emerged as crowds gathered in Manila yesterday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the killing of seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide by disgruntled sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza.

The question of Yik's treatment remains one of the few unresolved matters from the 2010 tragedy. Years of diplomatic tension between Hong Kong and Manila ended in April, when the Philippine government apologised and paid compensation to survivors and victims' families.

Yik's thumbs and jaw were shot off by a stray bullet in a shoot-out between police and Mendoza. She underwent 33 operations in Hong Kong, including having bone implanted from her calves in her jaw. The operations had to be reversed a year ago due to complications.

She had a new round of reconstructive surgery in Taiwan in December, the same month the Hong Kong hospital's former head of surgery, Andrew Burd, said administrators had put public relations ahead of Yik's care.

In February, Yik and her lawyers met the Hospital Authority but she was not given the full set of emails. In June, her lawyers received a report on her care from the authority but it did not include the emails. Yik's lawyer, Jonathan Man, said her legal team would seek expert advice on the report before deciding on further action.

"We are still investigating the matter. I understand the treatment was the wrong one," he said. "There are many, many reports we've received," and the team has held off on deciding whether to take action while they sort through those materials.

A spokesman for the Sha Tin hospital would not explain why the full set of emails had still not been handed over.

At February's meeting, the hospital assured the mother of one that there had been no "unnecessary delay" in treatment.

A spokesman for the authority refused to say whether Burd's claims had been referred to the Medical Council, saying only that "appropriate cases will be referred" to the watchdog.

For other survivors, the anniversary was a more peaceful affair after Manila's apology.

Tse Chi-kin, brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said it was the first time the family had not spent the anniversary lobbying the government and meeting the media.

"Much more light-hearted, definitely," Tse said shortly after visiting Masa's grave with his mother. "It's a relief that … we can just simply go and see Masa."

Watch: Philippine bus hostage-taking incident