The Hospital Authority on Thursday said it has apologised to the family of a man who died following a blunder at Caritas Medical Centre this week, but stopped short of saying whether any staff were at fault.
A 79-year-old who had suffered intestinal obstruction died after his oxygen cylinder was left switched off as he was being transferred from a ward to intensive care. He suffered cardiopulmonary failure and died about an hour and a half later.
The hospital’s chief executive, Dr Nelson Wat, said they are deeply saddened by the death and have expressed condolences to the patient’s family.
Wat told reporters that a three-month probe into the incident is being launched and the coroner has been notified of the man's death.
He said it is too early to say whether any member of the team that transported the patient – a doctor and two senior nurses – is to blame for the death, and nobody has been suspended over the incident.
Dr Raymond Cheung, a senior director at the authority, said it wouldn't have been one individual who was responsible for turning on the man's oxygen or checking the supply.
"It’s not just one person. The whole team has to make sure and check whether the equipment, the drug, and even the patient's condition are all ready before the transfer... Because for critically ill patients, one member [of staff] cannot do all the things. So a team of colleagues has to prepare for the patient transport," Cheung said.
The authority added that it is buying “smarter” equipment to make it easier for staff to ensure that oxygen cylinders are turned on.