After an eight-year wait, a show business couple came close yesterday to hearing a medical inquiry into the death of their baby a day after he was born.
Singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak and ex-actress Eugina Lau Mei-kuen took their case to the Medical Council to complain against the obstetrician and paediatrician who delivered and treated their baby in 2005.
But the long-awaited disciplinary hearing was delayed yet again, as the doctors applied for an adjournment. Obstetrician Dr Christine Choy Ming-yan wanted a senior counsel to represent her, said her solicitor, adding that the case was more complicated than they had thought.
The council's temporary chairwoman, Professor Felice Lieh Mak, adjourned the case to January 5, but said Choy's right to legal representation should not be abused.
Cheung said they were not disappointed by the further delay. "The hearing has to be fair. We've already waited for eight years; what are a few months more?" he said. "We had hoped only for the incident to be examined from a medical angle and now it has been granted. We don't really mind the outcome."
The council, a regulatory body that issues practice licences, is hearing the case in which Choy and paediatrician Wan Kam-ming are charged with professional misconduct. Choy is accused of mishandling labour procedures, which involved rupturing the fetal sac and administering a drug to induce labour.
The baby, Cheung Tin-lam, was born in February 2005. A civil lawsuit filed to the High Court was settled in September 2009. The couple lodged a complaint with the council that month.
Choy's lawyer said they needed more time because the council's prosecuting officer gave them two new reports by expert witnesses only last month and amended the charges on Tuesday night. The officer and Lieh Mak disagreed, saying the reports were handed to them in 2011.