Doctors urged to come clean quickly on blunders

Doctors urged to come clean quickly on blunders

The president of the Medical Association, Choi Kin, has warned that the public will start to lose faith in the territory’s public health system if doctors don’t readily admit any mistakes they make as soon as possible.

Choi’s comments on Wednesday follow a series of reports of medical mistakes in recent days, including an error at United Christian Hospital which is suspected of having left a kidney patient in need of a liver transplant.

“Sometimes in the public hospitals, because of the bureaucracy and so on, it is difficult to state the position properly and clearly in the first instance. And this delay will cause mistrust amongst the patients”, Choi said.

“It is important not to delay reporting the incidents, especially to the patients. The patients should be aware that something happened which may be related to the doctors’ action”.

Meanwhile, Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Alice Mak has called for a review of Hospital Authority procedures to see where improvements can be made. She said over-burdened frontline medical staff should not be judged too harshly.

“We want our patients to get comprehensive and suitable healthcare in our hospitals. I think what happened recently indicates or proves that there is something wrong in our system and we must do a thorough review to see what the problem is and how to solve it”, Mak said.

The woman involved in the liver blunder, 43-year-old Tang Kwai-sze, has since had two transplants and remains seriously ill in hospital. It was later revealed that not only did the hospital take almost two weeks to alert the family to the mistake over her medication, but doctors at another hospital she was transferred to were also kept in the dark.