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Prompt treatment could have saved two hostages, inquest told

Mar 15, 2011

At least two of the Hongkongers killed in the Manila hostage crisis might have been saved if given timely medical treatment, the inquest heard yesterday.

Professor Timothy Rainer, an expert on accident and emergency medicine from Chinese University, was testifying in the fifth week of the Hong Kong inquest into the deaths of eight Hongkongers held by sacked police officer Rolando Mendoza last August.

Rainer was referring to the gunshot wounds of tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, 31, who he said had a 57 per cent chance of survival if treated promptly, and Jessie Leung Song-yi, 14, who had a 36 to 60 per cent chance of survival.

Yeung Yee-wa, 44, only had an 8 per cent chance of survival, which Rainer said was small. He did not say whether the gunshot injuries to Yeung’s lungs and spinal cord were potentially treatable. The other five hostages killed would not have survived even if proper emergency treatment had been applied immediately.

Rainer was the last of the 31 witnesses from Hong Kong to give evidence. The inquest follows an inquiry in the Philippines that concluded in September that all eight victims were killed by Mendoza and recommended 12 individuals be held responsible for the bungled rescue effort. Tse was shot once in the neck, Rainer said, but the bullet did not pass through his airway or spinal cord, leaving his ventilation and neurological systems unaffected.

“He could have survived anything from a few minutes to an hour … It’s very reasonable to believe that he’d have survived for 30 minutes,” he said.

Probability of survival referred to the likelihood that a patient would be alive a month after injuries were incurred if medical care were delivered promptly and effectively, Rainer said.

Had anyone with basic first aid training approached Tse immediately after he was shot, and put pressure on his wound to minimise bleeding, he could have stayed alive for hours, Rainer said.

The bullet that entered Tse’s neck cut an artery, Rainer said. But blood loss in the first 20 minutes would be very small because of slow blood flow and the contraction of muscles surrounding the artery.

However, Tse was shot at 7.21pm and the surviving hostages were rescued at 8.45pm. “It’s very unlikely that he could have survived for over an hour,” Rainer said. Tse died from severe bleeding.

The gunshot wound to Leung caused her left lung to collapse, the court heard earlier. But she could have survived for 30 minutes, Rainer said, adding that most healthy people could survive with only one lung. Leung might have bled to death, but asphyxiation could not be ruled out, he said.

There was no information on the state of the deceased when the rescue team arrived, Rainer said.

Without physiological information such as pulse and blood pressure, it was difficult to determine to what extent early medical intervention could have saved their lives. He added that the scoring system used to assess the probability of survival was crude at best.

The inquest continues today before Coroner Michael Chan Pik-kiu.


Maggie Ng


Manila residents and tourists spending a vacation in Philippines prefer to travel out of town from Manila to the north to visit Subic, Pampanga, Angeles City and Clark Philippines. While many areas of the Philippines are plagued by crime and security concerns, Clark continues to impress the travel and tourism observers with its immaculately low crime records. Other features of Clark that attract family tourists and those visitors that are health sensitive include low pollution, peace and quiet ambiance and a most welcome absence of traffic congestion.

Many are selling off their assets to start a new life in Philippines, taking advantage of the standard-of-living differential to start a business or just enjoy living in a tropical country. With careful planning, the move to Philippines can work out brilliantly or it can be a painful mistake.

This web site contains articles and information that will be helpful to visitors, residents and tourists traveling out of town from Manila on a short getaway to Subic, Angeles City, Pampanga and Clark Philippines. There are several web sites that contain information that might also be pertinent to what is happening in North Luzon.

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While in Clark, one might as well add to the itinerary a visit to the famous Clark Wine Center, the largest wine shop in Philippines which offers over 2000 selections of fine vintage wine from all wine regions, vintages spanning over 50 years covering all price ranges.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011 Manila Bus Hostage Incident 2010




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