Hospital chiefs have denied allegations that they “covered up” the case of an eye injury suffered during the 2019 protests, after pro-establishment media accused a female patient of “faking” the rupture of her right eyeball.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Hospital Authority said they had cooperated with police and provided relevant medical records for an investigation into an incident involving a woman who sustained an injury in her right eye during police-protester skirmishes in Tsim Sha Tsui on August 11, 2019.
The authority – a statutory body for managing public hospitals – said based on the principle of respecting patients’ privacy, they would not disclose specific clinical details to the public or the media without consent.
“The HA disagrees with the (pro-establishment media) commentary and reiterates that it is unfounded in accusing the HA of a deliberate cover-up and fraud in the disclosure of the condition of an individual patient,” the authority said.
The statement came after a columnist for the Sing Tao Daily accused the authority of “letting lies spread” and tolerating “black violence” to make “fraudulent” claims.
The anonymous patient – who was believed to be a first aid volunteer – was often depicted as a victim of police brutality. Eyewitnesses and local media said her injury was caused by a beanbag round, but police said the facts were unclear.
Oriental Daily published an exclusive report on Monday claiming that the woman left Hong Kong for Taiwan in September last year. The pro-establishment newspaper included photos taken at the city’s airport and described the woman as “having bright and piercing eyes.” The article also claimed her health condition was “superb.”
State-owned Wen Wei Po then cited sources on Tuesday as saying a medical report regarding the woman – acquired by police from the Hospital Authority with a court warrant – showed that the patient’s right eye was not ruptured and her eyesight was not harmed.
“If the relevant information [about the medical report] is true, then the entire case of the ‘ruptured eye teenage girl’ is a hoax for inciting people’s anger and riot,” the Sing Tao commentary read.
Sources told Citizen News on Tuesday that the woman with eye injury has left Hong Kong, but said the sight in her right eye had not recovered.
The female patient launched a legal challenge against police in September 2019 after the force refused to show her the court warrant used to obtain her medical records. A court ruled in December that year police were not obligated to show the warrant in question.