Queen Elizabeth Hospital has apologized as it confirmed social media reports that pro-establishment lawmaker Tam Yiu-chung was given special treatment when he underwent a minor surgery in the government hospital.
It, however, stressed that management had no prior knowledge of the VIP treatment given to the legislator from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The apology came after an anonymous post on a Facebook account for hospital staff said that Tam, 66, was allowed to jump the queue for a minor operation, and that his wife was also allowed to enter the operation room through the staff channel.
According to the post, Tam and his wife were also allowed to stay in a staff lounge where doctors and nurses can rest before and after the surgery.
The post did not mention the lawmaker’s name but described him as “a heavyweight person in the pro-establishment camp”.
The hospital admitted that some rules might have been broken and called the special arrangements given the legislator inappropriate.
It promised to follow up on the incident but did not disclose the lawmaker’s name.
The hospital said the arrangement might be solely based on the decision of the doctor in charge as management did not know about it beforehand.
Tam later admitted that he was the lawmaker being referred to in the anonymous post. He said the operation involved cutting off a polyp in one of his ears, which could be done in a little more than 10 minutes.
The former DAB chairman said in a statement he did not ask for any special treatment or privilege.
He stressed it was his doctor who arranged for the operation, without saying if they are acquainted.
Some doctors working in public hospitals told the HKEJ that it was not uncommon to see senior doctors help some of their patients with queue-jumping, but a patient who is allowed to stay in a staff lounge must be “really special person”.
Civil Party lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, who is a doctor by profession, said Tam should issue a public apology as a public figure like him should have known better to reject any special treatment offered to him.
He compared the incident to the one involving Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was accused of using his position to help his daughter bypass security rules at the Hong Kong International Airport to retrieve a forgotten luggage.
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