The surgeon behind claims that the medical treatment of a Manila bus hostage survivor was compromised has apologised to former health chief Dr York Chow Yat-ngok.
It follows confusion about whether Chow was being accused of having interfered with the patient's surgery while in office.
"Let me formally express my regret that Dr York Chow has been caught up in the vicious smear campaign which is being directed at me," Andrew Burd, former chief of plastic surgery at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, said yesterday.
His apology to Chow, now chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, came as new details emerged of a 2012 assault allegation made against Burd by David Wong Sau-yan, who took over Burd's position last year.
On the claims of interference, Burd reiterated his previous stance that administrators including Professor Paul Lai Bo-san, a consultant surgeon and honorary chief of service, were to blame for a delay in Yik Siu-ling's surgery schedule.
Burd, 61, blames the delay on administrators' fear of generating negative press coverage if previously announced treatment dates were changed.
Yik's jaw was shattered when she was shot in the face during the 2010 Manila bus hostage crisis, in which eight Hongkongers lost their lives. Last month, the 37-year-old mother of one underwent a successful reconstruction operation in Taiwan after 33 operations in Hong Kong failed.
Lai denies interference, and the Hospital Authority says the claims are "unsubstantiated".
After the claims, Yik expressed disappointment with the hospital for its lack of transparency in explaining her treatment.
On the assault accusation, Wong alleges that he was attacked by Burd in June 2012 in a treatment room of the burns centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital.
Burd denies a claim he dragged Wong out of the room. He says he tapped Wong on the shoulder to signal to him to leave so he could deal with his patient.
In August 2012, the hospital appointed a four-person panel to conduct a six-month investigation. It found Burd guilty of "inappropriate and unnecessary physical action". It concluded that Burd had "applied a certain degree of physical force" but because there were no witnesses, the degree of force used could not be determined. The assault was not reported to the police.
Burd appealed, and the hospital's chief executive confirmed seven weeks ago that there would be a new hearing.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Prince of Wales Hospital declined to comment on the assault allegations.
"The work of the appeal panel concerned is still in progress," she said, adding that "the hospital will not comment on individual cases".