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Blood therapy

Hong Kong beauty customer recalls trauma of lost legs and fingers from blood therapy treatment gone wrong

Court hears tearful testimony of ‘internal organs in turmoil’ at manslaughter trial involving clinic

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 June, 2017, 11:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 26 June, 2017, 11:05pm

A Hong Kong woman suffered from ­terrible symptoms that left her ­internal organs in turmoil following an “unnecessary” beauty treatment and led to the amputation of her legs and four fingers, a court heard on Monday.

In emotional testimony about her experience with DR Group in 2012, Wong Ching-bor said she initially believed the treatment would lead to better health. “I felt really happy,” she recalled.

But the former primary school teacher and mother of two sons – one autistic, the other unemployed – said she had since been out of a job and left using a wheelchair, deprived of her two legs and four fingers on her right hand.

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“I want to be a healthy person but I’m now disabled and useless,” Wong said tearfully.

She was testifying at the manslaughter trial of two doctors and a laboratory technician accused of gross negligence in the death of Chan Yuen-lam, 46, another woman who also received the ­cytokine-induced killer cell treatment at a DR Group centre in Causeway Bay on October 3, 2012.

DR Group head Dr Stephen Chow Heung-wing, employee Dr Mak Wan-ling, and technician Chan Kwun-chung each deny one count of manslaughter.

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Prosecutors said the treatment was “wholly unnecessary” for cancer-free patients. It involved blood being taken, processed and reintroduced into the body.

Wong, Chan and another woman, Wong Fung-kwan, suffered from blood poisoning after the treatment, which prosecutors said had been contaminated.

On Monday, Wong Ching-bor said that in October 2012 she went to the Causeway Bay clinic to have blood that was extracted from her on a month earlier reintroduced into her body.

She recalled a doctor surnamed Mak injecting a “creamy, thick, sticky” liquid into a colourless drip bag to which she was ­later connected.

I cannot describe it. I just felt like all my internal organs were in turmoil
Wong Ching-bor

Some 15 minutes into the infusion, Wong recalled, she began to feel cold and shiver: “I cannot describe it. I just felt like all my internal organs were in turmoil.”

The discomfort persisted as she rested at the clinic until midnight, when she was sent home by staff. The next day, a clinic worker named Jojo came to her door and offered to take her to St Teresa’s Hospital, where Mak had arranged her a bed.

Wong was later transferred to United Christian Hospital after being diagnosed with sepsis.

She said she was in disbelief when told she would have to undergo amputations.

She also recalled her legs were swollen with large blisters, as if they were cracking open. And ­referring to two finger joints, she said: “They grew darker every day.”

An audio clip was played in court on Monday depicting Mak chatting with Wong prior to her blood extraction on September 12.

Wong told the doctor she had suffered from hypothyroidism and that she had been told by other doctors that her organs had been “pushed too far”.

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The doctor reassured Wong that only five in 100 people would suffer from fever after the treatment and that Wong could take Panadol tablets, or acetaminophen, if she felt unwell.

Under cross-examination, ­Peter Duncan SC, for Mak, suggested to Wong his client had conducted inquiries into Wong’s situation on the day prior to the infusion and had warned her about side effects that were similar to the flu. Wong agreed.

The trial continues on Tuesday ­before Mrs Justice Judianna ­Barnes Wai-ling.