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Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Hong Kong man in critical condition after surgery mishap at Prince of Wales Hospital

Hospital invites independent experts to review procedure where a tube was inserted into the man’s trachea instead of oesophagus

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 6:47pm

A Hong Kong man was in critical condition on Monday after a doctor from Prince of Wales Hospital mistakenly inserted a tube into his windpipe instead of the oesophagus more than two weeks ago.

A spokesman from the hospital in Sha Tin said the case was a “rare surgical risk” and had invited experts from other public hospitals to review whether the procedurewas up to standard.

According to Chinese newspaper Oriental Daily News, the man, 64, had been suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and abnormally enlarged veins in the oesophagus and stomach. During a check-up in the hospital on January 10, he was found to have bleeding in his stomach.

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A doctor then inserted a Sengstaken tube, an inflatable device used to manage bleeding in the gastrointestinal system, into his body.

The patient was sent to the hospital’s intensive care unit after the bleeding did not stop.

Another doctor from the unit then discovered the tube, which should have been placed in the patient’s oesophagus, was instead inserted in the man’s trachea. The Sengstaken tube was removed immediately.

After examination, the patient’s windpipe was found to have sustained a 10cm wound, including a 4cm “hole”. The man was said to have developed pneumonia and fever afterwards.

As of Monday afternoon, he remained in critical condition and was still receiving care at the hospital’s intensive care unit.

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A source said the media report was accurate, but the Post was unable to verify details as there was no written consent from the patient.

A hospital spokesman said in general circumstances Sengstaken tube was a very effective method when bleeding of a patient’s gastro-oesophageal varices, or veins, could not be controlled.

Referring to the case, he said as another tube had been inserted into the patient’s trachea to help him breathe, the procedure of placing Sengstaken tube was more risky and difficult.

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“The case was a rare surgical risk,” the spokesman said, adding that the hospital’s medical team had met the patient’s family and explained his treatment.

“The hospital was very sad with such an unfortunate incident,” he added. “We would provide appropriate treatment to the patient and all kinds of possible support to his family.”

The spokesman noted the case has been reported to the Hospital Authority’s head office.

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The hospital has invited Francis Mok Pik-tim, a consultant surgeon from the Caritas Medical Centre, and Leung Siu-kee, chief of Tuen Mun Hospital’s department of surgery, to review whether clinical procedures in the case had been appropriate and up to professional standard. They would also provide independent expert opinion and explain their findings to the patient’s family.