The doctor attending Jason Leung Song-xue, who was seriously injured in the Manila hostage shooting, hopes the teenager can return home soon after spending seven months in hospital, but it remains uncertain when this can happen. 'Jason is recovering steadily and he is learning to walk with assistance. We hope that he can go home soon,' the head of neurosurgery at Tuen Mun Hospital, Dr Dawson Fong To-sang, said yesterday. 'But I won't be surprised if he has to stay at the hospital for a little while longer because we have to carefully consider his discharge plan.' Leung suffered serious brain damage in the August 23 tragedy in which seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide were killed, including his father and two sisters. His mother survived. Fong said Leung's rehabilitation plan was being carefully worked out. 'Some of the patients suffering from similar brain injuries could be discharged at this stage, but we do have some patients who stay in hospitals for a long time,' Fong said. 'In this case, we have to discuss with the family who can take care of him at home. We have to strike a balance between having him rehabilitating in a home environment and the frequency of treatments, such as physiotherapy, that he can get after being discharged.' Leung was in a coma after the shoot-out but has since been recovering after undergoing several brain operations. He can eat slowly and speak simple words. In January, he celebrated his 19th birthday in the hospital ward with guests including family members, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and medical staff. Having afternoon tea has become Leung's daily ritual after undergoing physiotherapy and some simple exercises to train his muscles. Fong yesterday refused to give details about Leung's psychological condition. People familiar with Leung's situation said his mother, Amy Leung Ng Yau-woon, had requested medical staff not to speak of his painful experience in Manila and also recent news about the inquest. One person familiar with the situation said: 'The mother and son did not testify at the inquest now being held. Jason has never asked about where his father and sisters are, it could be a sign that he does remember something about the incident but may choose not to mention that. But no one knows what he is thinking, because no one dares ask him about it. His mother is very protective. She won't allow anyone to mention a word about that incident to him.' A neurosurgeon said Leung's recovery was satisfactory compared with patients who had suffered similar brain injuries. 'It is very good that now he can walk and talk, partly because he is very young. 'A full recovery will take an average of two years after significant progress in the first six months. Most patients with similar progress in recovery will be sent to convalescent hospitals before [being sent] home.' The doctor said usually the medical team would work out a rehabilitation plan with a patient's family a month after his or her condition had stabilised.