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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong health authorities reveals second case in two days of suspected Botox blunder after woman falls ill following salon injection

  • Patient, 24, who received facial jab, sent to hospital after feeling weak, dizzy and suffering from shortness of breath
  • Earlier case involved woman, 41, who fell ill after injection to calves
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 November, 2018, 2:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 November, 2018, 10:38pm

Hong Kong’s health authorities have announced a second investigation in two days over suspected cases of poisoning from Botox injection, with the latest incident involving a woman who fell ill following her visit to a Tsim Sha Tsui salon.

The patient, 24, was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei on Friday, after two days of feeling weak, dizzy, nauseous and having shortness of breath. Before suffering from the symptoms, she had received an injection of botulinum toxin in her face, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

The diagnosis was suspected iatrogenic botulism, meaning the intoxication was introduced by a physician’s work or therapy.

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The patient, who had an underlying illness, told health authorities her Botox injection was given by a doctor.

An earlier case disclosed by the centre on Thursday involved a woman, 41, who also suffered from long-term illness.

She was reported to have received Botox injections in both calves at her home on September 24 from a beautician from mainland China.

She was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan and diagnosed with iatrogenic botulism last Sunday, a month after symptoms including weakness, difficulty in swallowing and throat hoarseness began to develop.

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Both patients were in stable conditions and investigations were under way, the centre said.

Botox, initially used for medication, is now more frequently applied to cosmetic treatment to prevent wrinkles or slim down targeted areas by paralysing muscles.

The injection should be carried out by doctors who are familiar with facial structures
Dr Kingsley Chan, dermatologist

Private dermatologist Dr Kingsley Chan Hau-ngai said common risks with improper injection included drooping eyelids, prolonged bleeding, and one side of the face being larger than the other.

In the case of an overdose or injection at a wrong position, he said, Botox might paralyse the respiratory muscles, leading to difficulty in breathing or even death.

“When injected properly, Botox is safe,” Chan said. “The injection should be carried out by doctors who are familiar with facial structures.”

A spokesman for the centre urged the public to only receive Botox injections under prescription and have them performed by registered doctors.

“If referred to a doctor for the procedure, customers should look for his or her full name against the list of registered doctors of the Medical Council of Hong Kong, as well as the practitioner’s professional qualifications and relevant experience,” the spokesman said.