A doctor in Hong Kong could face life in prison if she is found guilty of the manslaughter of her patient. 38-year-old Vanessa Kwan Hau-chi reportedly performed liposuction on her patient 32-year-old Josephine Lee Kar-ying without taking proper precautions. She left the heavily sedated woman under the care of four unqualified employees of the beauty clinic. She failed to take steps to resuscitate the patient even after she had difficulty breathing. The doctor continues to plead not guilty of the charges against her.

The unfortunate incident took place on June 26, 2014, when Lee had returned to Regrowth Hair Transplant Centre in Kincheng Commercial Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. She had gone to the clinic to undergo the fat-reducing liposuction procedure. Her first session took place on April 20, 2014.

On the day of the second session, Lee was supposed to undergo the three-hour-long procedure. During the procedure, the patient was sedated in the absence of an anesthetist or anesthesiologist. At 2:44 p.m. Kwan left the operating room even though the patient was still unconscious.

Lee was left lying flat on her face under the care of four underqualified staff members. There were no devices monitoring the dance instructor’s vital signs. The staff had been relying on her snoring to tell if she was fine. At around 3:30 p.m. the patient’s snoring reduced and she started turning pale. The staff present in the room alerted Kwan.

Kwan entered the room and asked the staff to alert emergency services, ABS CBN News reported. While they waited for paramedics to arrive, the doctor did not take any steps to resuscitate the patient. At 4:12 p.m. the patient arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Jordan. She was eventually pronounced dead at 5:06 p.m.

Speaking about the day of the incident, Lee’s partner Chu Chun-Wah said that he was present at the clinic. He told the Hong Kong High Court that he had been waiting with their eight-month-old child. Chu saw Kwan leave the operating room, South China Morning Post reported. He later witnessed the staff leaving the room to call the doctor back. When he asked the staff what was going on, he was told that nothing was wrong. He witnessed his girlfriend being carried out of the clinic when paramedics arrived.

Kwan, who had been friends with the patient since childhood, has been accused of manslaughter due to gross negligence. The doctor claims that the patient understood the risks of the procedure and had signed a consent form. As she continues to deny the charges against her, the trial continues.

Surgery Representation image. Pixabay