Hong Kong hospital refuses to attend to dying patient on doorstep
An investigation was under way Monday into why a Hong Kong hospital refused to send medics to help a dying patient on its doorstep, dpa reported.
The 56-year-old man died around 45 minutes after collapsing with a heart attack outside the Caritas Medical Centre where he was being taken by his family for treatment on Saturday.
When his son ran into the hospital for help, a receptionist told him to dial 999 for an ambulance. The receptionist would not ring the number for him or call the hospital's accident and emergency unit.
A passing doctor who the dying man alerted the accident and emergency unit and an ambulance arrived 17 minutes after his collapse and took another 9 minutes to drive him around a one-way system.
The man was eventually admitted to the emergency unit 26 minutes after collapsing outside the hospital and was pronounced dead 17 minutes later.
Hong Kong health secretary York Chow said he was "very concerned" about the handling of the case and ordered an investigation by the Hospital Authority.
The man's son, who has not been identified, told Monday's South China Morning Post: "When a person feels sick, he will go to the hospital to seek help.
"My father and I were already on the doorstep of the hospital, but the hospital told me it was not their business and told me to call 999."
Medical sector legislator Leung Ka-lau defended the hospital's action and said anyone who fell ill near a hospital should expect to be treated "the same as if you fall ill in other public places."
"Being closer to a hospital does not mean relevant medical specialists will be around," he said.