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Friday, July 8, 2016, 17:35

Kin seek hospital report after girl's death


Kin seek hospital report after girl's death

A local family whose daughter died in March has again demanded the medical report from a public hospital where the girl was treated – saying on Friday they believe the hospital delayed proper treatment for the girl.

Hebe, who died at the age of five, was sent to the Prince of Wales Hospital in November 2015 after she fainted on the street. According to her mother surnamed Wong, the doctor first arranged for the girl to take blood tests, suspecting she suffered from a blood-related illness.

From then until February this year the girl was sent to the hospital intermittently, being transferred from the pediatrics department to gastroenterology then to cardiology – with no cause of illiness determined by the hospital, Wong said.

In late March, Hebe was sent to the hospital again after she vomited blood at her grandpa’s home.

But the doctors at the hospital did not do an immediate extensive check-up on the girl, according to Wong. She noted that the doctor who received her daughter acted indifferently, saying it was not necessary to send the blood for testing and informing Wong her daughter might suffer from gastroenteritis.

"They just told us there was no clinical urgency for treatments and sent us away once my daughter’s condition became stable,” Wong said.

The girl died two weeks later. Her family turned to lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen to complain. The group held a meeting with representatives from the hospital in May, when they were told that a doctor had noticed an abnormal heartbeat in the girl and arranged for her to take an echocardiography, which helped to detect cardiomyopathies. But the test was scheduled for July – three months later.

The representatives also told the group that the girl’s spleen had enlarged from 4 to 5 centimeters last year to 7 to 8 centimeters in February.

Mak criticized the hospital for not informing the family in a timely manner when they found abnormal signs in the girl, as well as for taking too long to arrange check-ups for such an urgent case.

She noted that the hospital still had not provided any report to the family concerning the girl’s death. The group demanded the report from the hospital in April.

Mak added that a request had been sent to the Coroner’s Court for an inquest. But the court replied it had not decided whether there would be one.

Mak pointed out that long waiting times have been a major cause of delayed treatments in recent years. She said the average waiting time for pediatrics in public hospitals is around 41 weeks, while that for surgery is 112 weeks.

She urged the Hospital Authority, which oversees all public hospitals in Hong Kong, to review the problems of long waiting times and serious manpower shortage.

Willa Wu contributed to the reporting.

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