Doctor leaves patient “open” for hours during operation to do surgery at another hospital

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A hospital launched an investigation into a Hong Kong doctor who allegedly left his patient during an operation to perform surgery at another hospital.

At Queen Mary Hospital, Dr. Kelvin Ng Kwok-chai was supervising Dr. Tiffany Wong Cho-lam, the patient’s chief surgeon, for a liver transplant.

The donated liver had to be transported from Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin to Queen Mary. While waiting for the extracted liver to arrive, everything was already set in order.

However, after the patient had been cut open, Dr. Kelvin Ng decided to leave the operation. He was expected to perform another surgery with a private patient at a different hospital. He promised to return by 5:00 pm.

The extracted liver arrived 5 minutes after Dr. Ng left. So, the patient whose abdomen had already been opened, waited for a full 3 hours before the transplant resumed.

Dr. Ng arrived at 6:30 PM to continue with the procedure. The liver transplant was finished by 10:30 in the evening. The hospital is not taking the incident lightly and an investigation is underway to look into possible negligence that might have endangered the patient.

A spokesman from the Queen Mary Hospital told The South China Morning Post said: “The hospital is very concerned about the [employee’s] report and has launched an investigation.”

Dr Ng holds a private practice but is on part-time duty in Queen Mary hospital due to shortage of skilled doctors capable of performing the transplant. Professor Lo Chung-mau, chief of Hong Kong University’s  liver transplant division also gave a statement to SCMP, “Professor Lo Chung-mau, chief of HKU’s liver transplant division.”