Imagine coming out of a surgery only to realise that your doctor abruptly left you on the table for hours before completing your operation!
Well, that’s exactly what this liver transplant patient from Hong Kong recently experienced!
On the 13th of October, Dr Kelvin Ng Kwok-chai was supervising Dr Tiffany Wong Cho-lam during a liver transplant surgery at Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong. At around 2pm that day, a liver was extracted from a deceased donor and transported to the patient’s hospital, according to South China Morning Post.
Suddenly, at around 3.25pm when the patient was already sedated and cut open, Dr Ng abruptly left the hospital without any clear explanation. Huh?!
The patient’s liver was still intact when the surgeon left.
Then, just 5 minutes after he left, the patient’s new liver arrived at the hospital. Dr Wong and another surgeon then examined the liver and left the operation theatre, leaving the anaesthetist and nurse to monitor the patient.
Meanwhile, Dr Ng only arrived back at the hospital at 6.30pm instead of 5pm like he initially promised, leaving the patient on the operating table for nearly three hours!
Thankfully, despite the delay, the operation went smoothly after being completed at 10pm. The patient is reportedly in stable condition now.
Since the incident transpired, an employee from the hospital lodged a report on 18th October.
“The hospital is very concerned about the [employee’s] report and has launched an investigation,” a spokesman from the hospital told the daily.
The spokesman then said that they were probing into the case, and if the delays were due to unnecessary reasons, the hospital would then take action.
However, according to the University of Hong Kong (HKU)’s liver transplant division chief, a liver transplant could be delayed for three to four hours for a variety of reasons. Despite this fact, he did say that the reason behind the delay in the current case was “unsatisfactory”, saying,
“Dr Wong could have sought help from another doctor rather than waiting for Dr Ng, even though the patient was assessed to be stable at the time.” He also added that Dr Ng was assisting Dr Wong in the surgery, and wasn’t supervising her.
As for whether it was appropriate for Dr Ng to leave during surgery, the HKU liver transplant division chief said, “Not all doctors could stay from the beginning till the end, it really depends on the manpower arrangement.”
Whatever it is, we hope appropriate action is taken against this doctor if he did not have a good enough reason for abruptly leaving and delaying the surgery!
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