A patient admitted for day surgery for a minor nose disorder has remained in a coma for more than three years after undergoing an operation at Alexandra Hospital. In a lawsuit for alleged negligence, the patient’s wife is now seeking compensation from Jurong Health Services and three doctors for the operation which left her husband in a permanent vegetative state since 2012.

The patient, Gu Ziqiang (“Gu”), was 34 years old at the time of the operation in July 2012. A Chinese national who has worked here for three years as a bus driver, he sought treatment for nasal obstruction. The common effects of nasal obstruction are understood to be snoring and nasal blockage, and Gu was to undergo day surgery to improve his nasal airway and breathing. Before surgery commenced, a tube had been inserted into Gu’s windpipe to aid breathing and protect his airway. However, 20 minutes after the operation commenced, the oxygen level in Gu’s blood fell.

According to court papers, a consultant from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) had re-checked the tube placement thereafter.

The key issue was whether the tube had been appropriately positioned during the operation and if this affected his breathing. After the operation, Gu remained in the ICU for more than a month and has been in a nursing home since. His wife Madam Kong Ling Hui represented by Mr. N Srinivasan (HOH Law Corporation), is seeking compensation for, amongst others, Gu’s upkeep, pain and suffering and loss of future earnings. Madam Kong lives in Chengdu, China with their two young sons. Her younger son, six months old at the time, had only seen his father once.

A High Court pre-trial conference has been scheduled for early next month. Claims at the High Court start from a minimum of $250,000.00.

Reported by: K.C. Vijayan and Seow Bei Yi (The Straits Times)

For more information: report published by Straits Times

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