Date
28 May 2017
Contaminated tissue samples led to wrongful cancer diagnosis of a patient at a HK hospital, leading to unnecessary surgery. Health Secretary Ko Wing-man (inset) described the blunder as "very serious". Photos: HKEJ, RTHK, Internet
Contaminated tissue samples led to wrongful cancer diagnosis of a patient at a HK hospital, leading to unnecessary surgery. Health Secretary Ko Wing-man (inset) described the blunder as "very serious". Photos: HKEJ, RTHK, Internet

Medical blunder costs 64-year-old man part of his lung

A patient at a Hong Kong hospital had part of his lung removed in a medical blunder that stemmed from wrongful cancer diagnosis, it was revealed Wednesday. 

Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health, told reporters that the government has been informed of a blunder that involved a patient at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan.

The patient, a 64-year-old man, was misdiagnosed as having lung cancer after tests at the Chai Wan hospital, according to RTHK.

He was subsequently referred to the Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam where he underwent an operation on Aug. 11. Doctors removed part of the lower lobe of the man’s right lung.

Later, it was discovered that the removed tissues contained no cancer cells and that the patient had only suffered from tuberculosis.

It is believed that the wrongful cancer diagnosis happened as the man’s lung sample was contaminated with tissue from another patient.

The Hospital Authority is now setting up a panel to investigate the incident. The panel will submit a report in eight weeks.

Lau Chor-chiu, chief of the Hospital Authority’s East Cluster, said the error might be related to how the tissue was put into the specimen bottle, and how the sample was then processed in the laboratory.

Ko described cross-contamination of patients’ samples as a “very serious problem”, and called for a thorough probe.

The Hospital Authority, meanwhile, will follow-up on the patient’s recovery.

– Contact us at [email protected]

DY/JP/RC

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe