Concerns over death rejected

THE Coroner's Court yesterday rejected a family's fears over a taxi driver's death after a private doctor administered a drug which was no longer widely used.

The family of taxi driver Cheung Kwai-shing, 48, had questioned the doctor who injected Cheung with coramin, a cardiac and respiratory stimulus on March 30, the day he died.

Cheung complained of severe upper abdominal pain in the morning, and was found lying curled up outside a private clinic in Central, where he was a regular patient.

Dr Wong Cheuk-sang arrived at 8.35 am, and Cheung was examined immediately.

Dr Wong diagnosed a gastric problem, and gave an injection to relieve his pain.

She said Cheung had no sign of any heart problem at that time, but was later found semi-conscious on a sofa outside her room.

His face had turned blue.

He was sent to hospital in a critical condition.

Dr Wong said she gave Cheung the injection of coramin because an ambulance officer asked her to do something for the patient as the trip to the hospital was quite a distance.

He died later of a blocked artery.

Dr Wong told the court she found the drug useful to sustain the patient on the journey to Queen Mary Hospital.

But the court heard the drug had a side effect for people with heart conditions. It could affect the rate of their heartbeat.

Dr Chan Ka-cheong of Queen Mary Hospital said the medicine had not been used in the hospital since 1988 because of its side effect, although it was acceptable in normal situations.

Coroner Rodney Venning ruled that Cheung had died of natural causes.