Case Summaries

Tong Seok May Joanne v Yau Hok Man Gordon

19 December 2012


Tong Seok May Joanne v Yau Hok Man Gordon
Suit No. 885 of 2009
Decision of the High Court (delivered by Justice Andrew Ang)


1     This action arose out of the general anaesthetic (“GA”) procedure during the plaintiff’s (Tong Seok May Joanne (“Mdm Tong”)) lower segment caesarean section (“LSCS”) surgery for the delivery of her sixth child. Mdm Tong alleged that the defendant (anaesthetist Dr Yau Hok Man Gordon (“Dr Yau”), who had carried out the GA procedure) was negligent in three aspects (all of which were denied by Dr Yau):

  1. failing to obtain her informed consent for the GA procedure;
  2. failing to take proper care when manipulating her neck during the GA procedure; and
  3. failing to provide reasonable post-surgery care.

2     The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s negligence had caused her to suffer from an injury to the anterior longitudinal ligament (“ALL”) of the cervical spine (ie, the first seven vertebrae of the spine starting from the neck to the upper back) which had worsened over time and developed into a whole constellation of further symptoms and complications. She sought damages in the region of about $3m for physical, emotional and psychological harm allegedly suffered.

3     The trial spanned a lengthy 39 days and involved 25 witnesses of fact and nine expert witnesses.


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