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Thursday, January 13, 2022
CMEL Newsletter (Nov - Dec 2021)
WELCOME TO OUR
NEW BI-MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
We congratulate the 21 students in our Master of Laws in Medical Ethics and Law
("LLM(MEL)") course who graduated in 2021, and our first MBBS
student who successfully completed the course as an intercalated degree.
We also take this opportunity to remember the late Ms Lau Ching Kar
Karen, who was one of our LLM(MEL) students, and we are grateful to her
brother, Mr Aaron Lau, for the eulogy that is published in this
As in our previous newsletters, we highlight new publications,
interviews, and online resources, such as updates on non-locally trained
medical practitioners, "alternative smoking products", medical
manslaughter and the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance.
Looking ahead into the new year, we invite readers to participate in our
events as well as those of our collaborators, the Centre for the
Humanities and Medicine ("CHM") (Faculty of Arts and LKS
Faculty of Medicine) and the Medical Ethics and Humanities Unit
("MEHU") (LKS Faculty of Medicine). Among these are CMEL’s "Informed
Consent" webinar and "Annual Review of Hong Kong Health
Law" webinar in January and February 2022 respectively as well as
the "Medical Research and Drug Policy" virtual book talk of CHM
and MEHU in January 2022.
Finally, we take this opportunity to wish everyone restful holidays and a
fruitful new year to come.
Above: LLM(MEL) Class of 2021 with Dr Eric C. Ip and Dr
Calvin W. L. HoAbove: LLM(MEL) Class of 2021 with Former Chief Justice
The Honourable Mr Geoffrey Ma and Dean Professor Hualing Fu
comparisons of COVID-19 case and mortality data and the
effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions: a plea for
patient-centric turn in medical liability in Singapore" (Open
In Medical Liability
in Asia and Australasia (Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative
Perspectives on Law and Justice book series), Springer Nature, 2022
By Calvin W. L. Ho
Please refer to the "Events" section below for details of the
IN MEMORIAM: LAU
CHING KAR KAREN
The late Ms Lau Ching Kar Karen
One of the students in the LLM(MEL) class of 2021, Ms LAU Ching Kar Karen, passed away earlier this year. Karen had done well and will always be a member of the HKU Law School. The following is a memoriam written by Ms Karen Lau’s brother in loving remembrance of her.
My family and I
would like to thank Karen’s teachers and classmates, as well as the
Centre for Medical Ethics and Law and the Department of Law of the
University of Hong Kong for the unwavering support during her studies
this past year. While Karen has yet to complete her Masters due to this
sudden illness, my family and I remain hopeful that a posthumous award of
the degree is possible, as Karen’s wish was to complete this course. I am
confident that Karen’s commitment, perseverance and resilience shall
continue to inspire generations of students to come. In Memoriam: Lau Ching
Kar Karen Congratulations to
all 2021 Master of Laws (Medical Ethics and Law) graduates. My late
sister, Lau Ching Kar Karen, would have been among you as a graduand at
the 205th Congregation, but she succumbed to terminal cancer in May 2021
at the age of 40.
As a practising
Barrister-at-Law and formerly a teacher at a local secondary school,
Karen has inspired many to become legal professionals as well as
educators. Karen was a smart, loving, caring, and gentle person. She was
always cheerful and when her friends encountered difficulties, her
kindness would radiate like the sun, providing warmth and shelter in the
darkest of times. When given an insurmountable task at work, she would
openly accept it with open arms and complete it with sheer perfection.
Even when she had Sarcoma, she did not run away in fear. Instead, she
stood up and fought valiantly until the end.
Today, we are here
to remember a great friend, a great ally, a great colleague, a great
sister, a great human being. Though she is not bodily with us, her life
has touched many and her spirit shall imbue every one of us. Her legacy
shall continue as she has reminded us not to give up hope as waking up to
a new day is a gift.
Lau Ching Kong
Aaron, MEd (HKU)
VIRTUAL INFORMATION SESSIONS FOR MEDICAL ETHICS AND LAW
Abstract: The requirement of informed consent in healthcare and
biomedical research tends to be construed and implemented in ways that
are overtly individualistic and without adequate recognition of the
attending social, cultural and religious conditions. Drawing from
contributions in the edited monographs "Cross-Cultural and
Religious Critiques of Informed Consent" and "Medical Decision-Making
on Behalf of Young Children", contributing authors and
commentators discuss key arguments and implications of this contribution
to the bioethical literature on informed consent.
Abstract: Year 2021 saw a number of significant and noteworthy statutory
and case law developments affecting medical and health law in Hong Kong.
This webinar will take a look at some of these developments.
Details and registration link will be made available on CMEL’s website soon.
CONFERENCE ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, COVID-19, AND THE NEXT
CMEL’s Co-Director Dr Calvin W. L. Ho and Research Fellow Dr Eric C. Ip participated in a virtual
conference entitled "Intellectual
Property, Covid-19, and the Next Pandemic: Diagnosing Problems,
Developing Cures" as a speaker on 5 November 2021
and as a moderator on 6 November 2021 respectively.
The title of Dr Ho’s presentation was "Governing the ACT-Accelerator: Current
Challenges to Access and Innovation, and Opportunities for Change".
The conference was co-organised by the Law and Technology Centre of the
University of Hong Kong and the Georgetown University Law Center.
CMEL’s Dr Calvin W. L. Ho
was one of the speakers at a virtual seminar entitled "Seminar on Genomics —
Ethical and Governance Considerations for Reproductive Genetic
Screening" held on 23 November 2021.
His topic was the responsible
implementation of expanded prenatal genetic testing in Hong Kong and
Singapore. The seminar was organised by the CUHK Centre
for Bioethics of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
GLOBAL HEALTH AND HUMANITIES BOOK SERIES This virtual
book series features recently published authors in conversation with
established scholars working at the nexus of global health and the
humanities, ethics, and law. Started by CMEL board members Dr Priscilla Song (Associate Professor
in the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine)
("CHM") and Dr Harry Wu (former Director of the Medical
Ethics and Humanities Unit) during the height of the COVID-19
pandemic social distancing restrictions in Hong Kong, the book series has
played an important role in facilitating virtual engagement among faculty
and students at the University of Hong Kong with scholars around the
Authors featured in the book series to date include:
Talk abstract: Medical science and drug policy approaches have often
been based on essentialist definitions of drug action and
dichotomous distinctions between licit drugs and drugs of abuse. In
recent years, though, a growing awareness of the context-dependency
and socio-cultural situatedness of drug effects has opened up the
prospect of rethinking medical drug research and drug policy in
light of social constructivist insights into drug effects, which
place the emphasis on the cruciality of set and setting (context)
rather than chemical essentialism. Based on Ido Hartogsohn’s American Trip: Set,
Setting and the Psychedelic Experience in the 20th Century
(MIT Press, 2020), the talk will use the story of
mid-twentieth-century American psychedelic research and culture as a
backdrop for an examination of social-constructivist insights into
the context-dependency of drug effects and their implications for medical
research and drug policy.
Additional book talks in the spring 2022 lineup will feature the
MEHU’S FILM SCREENING AND DISCUSSION EVENT: "ALIVE IN
Ethics and Humanities Unit (MEHU) is a teaching and research
unit of the LKS Faculty of Medicine inaugurated in 2012. MEHU seeks to inspire interest and scholarly
work in medical ethics and humanities through the corresponding curricula
in the undergraduate MBBS programme, as well as events and collaborations
with academic and community-based colleagues. MEHU welcomes
colleagues to get involved with its "Conversations and
Connections" event series, which brings together diverse voices to
stimulate discussion and thought around the issues that matter to those
who practice and use healthcare. Speakers have ranged from healthcare
professionals to creative artists, philosophers, Olympic athletes, advocates
for transgender rights, humanitarian workers, and medico-legal experts.
The first event of this year’s series kicked off with a screening and
lively panel discussion of the film "Alive in the Mortuary"
based on an award-winning script by local playwright Ms Chong Mui Ngam
and produced by Hong Kong’s own Chung Ying Theatre company. Students and
staff joined to watch the film which follows a medical graduate from Hong
Kong University who becomes a surgeon working in a challenging war
environment in Africa. The character encounters a series of ethical and
existential dilemmas while stuck in a mortuary and confronted by an
apparition of his younger self. After the film, the vibrant panel
discussion was led by HKUMed neurosurgeon Dr Anderson Tsang in conversation
with the artistic director of the film, Mr Dominic Cheung, and nurse and
midwife Ms Tobey Lee who worked with Medicins
sans Frontieres in a refugee field hospital in Africa. The
speakers highlighted the power of theatre in communicating the ambiguous
experiences and ethical challenges of medicine to the broader public.
Reflecting on the main character in the film, Director Cheung reminded
the audience of the importance of grasping our initial motivations,
passions, and dreams during times of ethical crisis and challenge. For
more information about the MH "Conversations and Connections"
series or to be included on the mailing list please contact coordinator,
Dr Alex Gearin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
PERSPECTIVE FROM A FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST AND AN ADVOCATE
FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Our Dr Philip Beh
recently had the honour of being interviewed in the SCOM Talk Show hosted
by the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. In the interview, Dr Beh talked
about his experiences as a forensic pathologist and his views on the
concept of "death". As an advocate for victims of sexual
violence, he shared his views on the governmental policies and law. Click
here for the video (in Cantonese
PROPOSAL OF A
VACCINE PASS SYSTEM FOR HONG KONG
In two radio
programmes on Radio Television Hong Kong, "Talkabout" and
"Open Line Open View", our Dr Calvin W. L. Ho shared his views on
the proposal to introduce a local vaccine pass system for entering
designated premises, such as workplaces, schools and public places, in
Hong Kong. Click the links below to learn more:
CALL TO ENGAGE
IN CONSENSUS BUILDING In the journal Cell Genomics, our
Dr Calvin W. L. Ho
explains how the Regulatory & Ethics Toolkit of Global Alliance for
Genomics & Health can support consensus building in genomics research
from the bottom up. Learn more here:
NEW PATHWAY FOR NON-LOCALLY TRAINED DOCTORS TO PRACTISE IN
Council of Hong Kong recently passed the Medical Registration (Amendment)
Bill 2021 to create a new pathway for non-locally trained
medical practitioners to practise in Hong Kong. Click here for a news
article on this.
ALTERNATIVE SMOKING PRODUCTS IN HONG KONG
The Smoking (Public Health)
(Amendment) Bill 2019 was recently passed by the Legislative
Council of Hong Kong. The amendments brought about by the bill will,
among other things, prohibit the import, manufacture and sale of
"alternative smoking products". Read more here.
APPEAL IN THE DR
BEAUTY GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER CASE: HKSAR v CHOW
HEUNG WING, STEPHEN AND CHAN KWUN CHUNG  HKCA
In the infamous
"DR Beauty" case, the deceased underwent at a clinic of the DR
Group a cellular therapy treatment known as "CIK" treatment
whereby blood extracted from her was taken to a laboratory to undergo a
process of culturing, after which it was infused back into her. The blood
was contaminated before it was infused back into her, who died from
"multi-organ failure" afterwards.
The first defendant ("D1") and the second defendant
("D2"), who were in charge of the DR Group and processed the
blood respectively, sought leave to appeal against both their convictions
and sentences. The Court of Appeal refused leave to appeal against their
conviction and dismissed their appeals against conviction but allowed
their appeals against sentence. Upon consideration, the Court of Appeal
reduced the sentences, in the case of D1, to 10 years’ imprisonment and,
in the case of D2, to 8 years’ imprisonment.
FOR GROSS NEGLIGENCE MANSLAUGHTER OVER DEATH OF A LIPOSUCTION PATIENT: HKSAR v KWAN HAU
CHI, VANESSA  HKCFI 2978
A medical doctor
was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment in Hong Kong for gross negligence
manslaughter in respect of the death of her patient, who died in 2014
following a liposuction procedure performed by the doctor.
Click here for a summary
of the Reasons for Sentence.
REGIME FOR PRIVATE HEALTHCARE FACILITIES
In the postscript to the Reasons for Sentence in HKSAR v Kwan Hau Chi, Vanessa,
the case above, the judge observed that the incident was "a classic
example of the need not only of the regulation of private healthcare
facilities in Hong Kong but of the ease at which medical practitioners
can conduct high-risk medical procedures in these facilities" and
noted that the Private Healthcare Facilities Ordinance (Cap. 633)
("PHFO") was gazetted subsequent to the incident.
PHFO introduces a new regulatory regime for private healthcare facilities
(PHFs). Four types of PHFs (hospitals, day procedure centres, clinics and
health services establishments) are subject to regulation. This new
regime is being implemented in phases. Click here for a simple
guide to the PHFO.
CENTRE FOR MEDICAL ETHICS AND LAW HKU
The Centre for
Medical Ethics and Law (CMEL) develops new ideas and solutions in
response to the big ethical, legal and policy questions of medicine and
CMEL is the
first cross-faculty interdisciplinary institution of its kind in the
region. It was founded in 2012 by the LKS Faculty of Medicine and Faculty
of Law at The University of Hong Kong as a joint inheritor of their
vibrant intellectual traditions dating back to 1887 and 1969
Today, CMEL brings together bioethicists, academic lawyers, medical
scientists, and other scholars to conduct cutting edge bioethical and
legal research and contribute to policy development in flagship areas
like population and global health, mental health and capacity, and
digital health and emergent technologies.
Research, teaching and knowledge exchange—CMEL’s core initiatives—aim to
ensure that developments in biomedicine and public health will be
underpinned by ethical and legal considerations.
CONTACT Centre for
Medical Ethics and Law
Office 9.21, 9TH Floor,
Cheng Yu Tung Tower,
The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong SAR