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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

'Blunder' suit amid fears for girl's life

The father of a five-year-old girl with congenital bile tube blockage is suing the Hospital Authority for medical negligence in a surgical procedure back in 2017, when she was 11 months old.
In a writ filed with the district court on Friday, the father, So Hang-cheong, acted as the plaintiff on behalf of his daughter Yu-yan to claim damages, interest and costs incurred for personal injury, loss and damage due to "negligence and/or breaches of statutory duty" on the part of the authority's agents at Queen Mary Hospital on December 8, 2017.

Yu-yan was born on December 9, 2016. When she was two months old, she was diagnosed with congenital bile duct obstruction and underwent surgery at Prince of Wales Hospital.

She had a second liver operation on December 8, 2017, at Queen Mary, which the doctor said was successful. After that, she was sent to a general ward instead of intensive care, as requested by the surgeon.

Three hours after the procedure, the baby girl entered a coma and her heart stopped beating for six minutes.

She was eventually diagnosed with moderate brain damage.

Her parents demanded the Hospital Authority and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor investigate whether their daughter was a victim of a medical blunder, but the authority did not classify her case as so.

At one stage, she required a liver transplant and found a good match in a friend of the parents, but the time slot was given to another baby with a more acute condition and Yu-yan's surgery was delayed.

Eventually her condition improved and doctors said she was not in urgent need of a transplant and so surgery was put off.

However, Yu-yan is still in an intensive care unit and doctors have warned her parents she may enter a coma or die of a stroke anytime.

In a Facebook post on May 21, her parents broke the news that Yu-yan's vein in the liver is completely blocked and she is no longer suitable for a liver transplant. Doctors also found signs of liver failure.

In another post on May 26, her parents wrote: "Since her ability to handle toxin and coagulate blood is poor, she could leave us any moment from sudden brain hemorrhage or coma."

They added: "She has been in good spirits these few days after returning to the hospital and has been happy in mommy's company. But the ICU only allows one hour of visit every day, which makes her sad."

Yu-yan is said to often vomit after meals - sometimes even blood - which makes feeding her difficult and requires intravenous therapy.

"We must take extra care with her. She can still live as long as she doesn't throw up. Let's hope she can absorb nutrients and her liver recover. Every day may be the last day. Every extra day is a gift. Amen!"
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