The Medical Council will ask the police to investigate an unregistered Brazilian surgeon who carried out an emergency heart operation at the invitation of Grantham Hospital. At the same time the Hong Kong Medical Association declared it would also demand an inquiry into the conduct of the Grantham surgeons who assisted Dr Randas Batista on June 4. The hospital asked Dr Batista, who was in Hong Kong for a cardiac conference, to operate on a patient suffering from acute heart failure. The surgeons believed a controversial surgical technique he pioneered was the best chance of saving the patient's life. It involves cutting away a large chunk of living heart tissue to reduce an enlarged heart to a more normal size. He has performed more than 500 such operations worldwide. However, Grantham Hospital 'omitted' to apply for temporary registration for him - making the operation illegal. Practising while unregistered is a criminal offence. The Medical Council said it would ask the police to investigate, even though Dr Batista left the territory on June 6. Defending its actions, the hospital said: 'The clinicians' priority was in saving the patient's life.' The unnamed patient had been on the waiting list for a heart transplant for more than a year before being admitted with acute heart failure on June 2. The hospital said he was now stable and recovering. However, a leading heart expert, who did not wish to be named, criticised Grantham yesterday, saying: 'We have these regulations to maintain standards and the Hong Kong Government sets these standards to protect the public.' Dr Lee Kin-hung, president of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said the surgeons who assisted Dr Batista should also face a Medical Council inquiry. 'There is a specific offence called 'covering' for those who assist non-registered personnel to apply medical treatment,' Dr Lee said. 'It is clearly stated in the professional code of conduct that covering is professional misconduct.' Medical Council secretary Tse Man-sing said it would refer any complaints about specific Grantham surgeons to its preliminary investigation committee. The Hospital Authority and Grantham Hospital said they would review their procedures.