Light incident initial findings unveiled

February 24, 2023
Detailed review
Detailed review:

Independent expert advisor Eric Lim (first right) inspects the surgical lights in United Christian Hospital.

The Hospital Authority today announced the initial findings of an incident in which a surgical light in United Christian Hospital fell off and injured one of its staff members.


The independent expert advisor the authority entrusted, Eric Lim, said according to the initial investigation, the six screws for fixation in the main post of the concerned surgical light were all broken.


Apart from finding at least four screws that showed signs of metal fatigue, rust stains were found on some of the screws as well.


Mr Lim noted that it was deemed that metal fatigue of the screws was not formed in a short period of time. Eventually, the screws could not hold the weight of the surgical light, causing it to fall on the ground.


The authority completed inspection on all public hospitals with surgical light facilities, with a total of 471 surgical lights.


Most of them are up to safety standards and can continue to be used, yet the screws of 23 surgical lights may be at risk and their use has immediately been suspended. While 11 of them have been repaired, the remaining surgical lights will be fixed in the short term.


For the sake of prudence, the authority also inspected 482 medical pendants in public hospitals and they are all confirmed to be safe for use.


The authority's Director (Quality & Safety) Dr Michael Wong said the authority is extremely dissatisfied with the vendor's performance and has ordered the vendor to solve the problem appropriately and submit a thorough report.


He emphasised that the authority will stringently follow up on the incident, and it reserves the right to pursue those who may be responsible.


Dr Wong also stressed that the authority has reported the incident to relevant government regulatory bodies. If there are any irregularities found in the investigation, it will consider referring the case to law enforcement agencies for follow-up.


“Surgical lights that may be at risk are all suspended for use. Patients and staff can rest assured that the operation rooms, which maintain normal service now, have been confirmed to be safe,” he added.


The authority pointed out that Mr Lim made a few recommendations on the maintenance of surgical lights. He suggested that maintenance and repair must be done by trained and certified technicians and screws should be replaced with new ones from time to time.


To ensure the safety of patients and staff, the authority made it clear that it has followed the initial findings concluded by Mr Lim and ordered the vendor to replace the screws in the other surgical lights concerned with new ones.


Before the replacement of the screws is completed, the vendor should increase the frequency of surgical light checkups to once every one to two weeks, the authority stated.


It added that in the past few days, elective operations concerning 141 patients had to be rescheduled and all of them have been rearranged so that the operations can be carried out as soon as possible.

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