Brain-damaged police officer to return to HK

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2007, 12:00am

Brain-damaged police officer Jacky Chu Chun-kwok, who is being treated in Guangzhou, is expected to be moved back to Hong Kong next year, but his family is worried that local hospitals will not be able to provide adequate care.

The family's concerns echo those of Fok King-hee, father of a 12-year-old vegetative boy, who made an e-mail complaint to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen last month about the state of medical care for brain-damaged patients. Doctors believe Mr Chu, 34, who remains in a semi-vegetative state, has benefited as much as he can from the treatment he has been receiving, his mother, Lee Lai-hing, said.

Mr Chu suffered brain damage from loss of blood after he was stabbed in the neck while on patrol in Cheung Sha Wan in July 2005.

He was moved to the Guangzhou General Hospital of the Guangzhou Military Command last September at the request of the family and helped by the Hong Kong Police Force.

After a year of treatment, Mr Chu can now drink soup and eat mashed food, slowly and with help. His limbs are also not as stiff as before. But Ms Lee said he could still not recognise people.

She said the family planned to take him back to Hong Kong early next year.

Mr Chu's wife, Choi Yin-ping said she was worried that the Hong Kong public hospitals would be unable to give good enough rehabilitation and care to her husband.

In Guangzhou, Mr Chu receives about 10 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy a month, two hours of physiotherapy a day, and daily acupuncture and massages. But in Hong Kong, he used to receive only five to 10 minutes of physiotherapy a day and no hyperbaric therapy, Ms Choi said.

'In the past, I've always distrusted the mainland hospitals. But now I sometimes regret that I had not sent my husband to the mainland for rehabilitation earlier,' she said.

Ms Choi urged the Hospital Authority to improve care for brain-damaged patients. She is planning to arrange for her husband to stay in a public hospital after he is moved back to Hong Kong, and will take him home after their flat is renovated to meet the needs of a disabled person.

She is considering hiring two domestic workers to help take care of Mr Chu.

'I would rather spend more money looking after him at home, rather than leaving him in the hospital. The rehabilitation services in public hospitals are poor,' Ms Choi said.

Ms Choi, Mr Fok and six other families of brain-damaged patients will meet Hospital Authority chief executive Shane Solomon on Thursday next week to press for better care for brain-damaged patients.