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Hong Kong health care and hospitals

Rectal rupture: woman, 86, injured during imaging procedure at Hong Kong public hospital

  • Elderly patient was undergoing computerised tomography virtual colonoscopy at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 7:39pm

An elderly woman has suffered a rupture to her rectum during a medical imaging procedure at a Hong Kong public hospital.

The 86-year-old was undergoing a computerised tomography virtual colonoscopy at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan on Friday.

The procedure requires pumping gas into the colon to inflate it for better imaging. A small water-filled balloon was placed in the woman’s anus to stop any gas leaking, a spokesman for the Hospital Authority said.

Doctors believe the balloon accidentally became filled with gas and then ruptured, causing a perforation of the rectum.

An emergency operation was carried out to repair it. The woman was stable on Friday night.

The spokesman said the hospital was “very concerned” about the case and had met the woman’s family to explain and apologise. The incident was reported to the authority’s head office.

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A panel will be set up to determine the cause and a report submitted to the authority within eight weeks.

Lawmaker Dr Pierre Chan, a specialist in gastroenterology and hepatology who represents Hong Kong’s medical sector in the legislature, said pumping gas into the colon was a required part of the procedure.

But it had been a rookie mistake to let gas into the balloon, he said.

Rectum repair surgery should be straightforward and the patient would recover fully if the operation had been carried out early, Chan added.

Such a blunder was “very rare”, to the point where Chan had heard of no other, he said.