Police associations slam ‘wicked and dehumanising’ hate message from HK online user claiming to be nurse, who suggested improper treatment for officers

03-Aug-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Four Hong Kong police staff associations have urged the Hospital Authority to look into whether a public hospital nurse delivered hate messages online threatening to harm officers by giving them improper medical treatment if they sought help.

On Thursday, police groups called such an idea “extremely wicked and dehumanising” and called for an investigation.

A message was earlier posted on social media by a user claiming to be a registered nurse from Queen Elisabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei.

The person said officers seeking medical treatment should be given improper cardiopulmonary resuscitation, dangerous urinary tract procedures or surgery without anaesthesia.

Amid escalating protests over the now-shelved extradition bill which have rocked the city in recent weeks, police have come under fire from society, including the medical sector, for their handling of demonstrators.

The case also shed light on deepening tensions between medical workers and officers. In late June, police pulled out of their posts at two public hospitals, citing verbal abuse.

Medical staff on the other hand, accused police of harassing them and arresting protesters who sought treatment.

Hong Kong police pull out of hospital posts, blaming constant abuse

The associations, representing superintendents, inspectors, overseas inspectors, and rank-and-file officers comprising some 27,000 individuals said the nurse’s message depicted “extremely wicked and dehumanising acts” which constituted serious breaches of professional ethics and conduct in medicine, as well as being against the law.

The four association chiefs said they “strongly condemned” the person behind the post.

“If the speaker is confirmed to be a registered nurse in a public hospital, we sincerely ask the authority to immediately terminate the speaker’s duty to prevent other people from being harmed … and to safeguard medical workers’ professional conduct and ethnics,” they said.

Nurses’ unions were divided over the case.

After the online message was seen, the Nurses general Union and the Nurses Branch of the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants’ Association, which were regarded as government-friendly, urged authorities to investigate.

Details of a nurse suspected to be behind the act were also faxed to colleagues in other hospitals.

But the Hong Kong Allied Health Professionals and Nurse Association later launched an online petition accusing the two groups of releasing unauthorised personal information, and making allegations without proper grounds.

So far more than 2,400 people have signed the petition.

The incident was not the only sign that political rifts in society had filtered through to the medical profession, some of whom were said to have aired their views on social media.

Following Saturday’s march in Yuen Long by extradition bill protesters, a consultant at Princess Margaret Hospital’s Orthopaedics and Traumatology department posted a controversial message on what was presented as his Facebook page.

The message was believed to be attacking those protesters.

“If you come in, expect to be put in a cast by us, with force. If not, a scalpel may have to be used,” the doctor wrote, which internet users interpreted as him referring to the medical treatment to be given to injured protesters.

His remarks also attracted criticism. Democratic Party health spokesman Ramon Yuen Hoi-man said the comment violated doctors’ professional code of conduct, adding he had made a complaint to the Medical Council.

Hong Kong’s No 2 official warns civil servants to stay neutral

A spokesman for the hospital in Kwai Chung issued a statement reminding all staff to uphold professional standards in serving patients fairly, and to provide quality medical services to the public.

The spokesman added there was an established mechanism for complaints from the public.

Dr Pierre Chan, lawmaker for the medical sector, called on health staff to focus on looking after patients and to avoid deepening the divisions in the city.

“Written or verbal criticisms are not helping society,” Chan wrote on his website.

“Medical staff will not question the political background of the patient, and they will maintain their professionalism in their work.”



Category: Hong Kong

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