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Women's group lauds ban on dirty doc who took pics

Kelly Ip

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A women's rights group welcomed the deregistration of a doctor who took unauthorized photos of his patients' private parts, and called on all women who had similar experiences to come forward.

The group was reacting to the Medical Council's license revocation of Christopher Tong Yung-man.

Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women executive director Linda Wong Sau-yung advised female patients to always request the presence of a woman nurse if examined by a male doctor.

Tong, 33, was acquitted of indecent assault two years ago after he allegedly inserted his finger into the vagina of a patient and took photos of her private areas without her knowledge.

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Sha Tin Magistrates' Court deputy magistrate Poon Chin- chiu said at the time he could not rule out that it was a genuine vaginal examination, and that Tong was an inexperienced doctor who had graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong only in 2004.

On Sunday, the Medical Council found Tong had performed inappropriate and unnecessary medical exams on the breasts and vaginas of six patients, and took more than 860 photos and 20 videos of the private parts of patients - including children - in 2007 and 2008.

It said the taking of pictures of any part of a patient's body secretly or without consent is a "blatant and serious breach of the patient's trust" amounting to "scandalous conduct which is grossly improper and unethical for medical practitioners."

Tong was deregistered and would not be allowed to reapply for reinstatement - the heaviest punishment ever handed down by the council.

Eric Cheung Tat-ming, assistant professor of the University of Hong Kong faculty of law, said that at the trial the court had to be satisfied without a reasonable doubt that Tong was guilty of indecent assault in order to convict him.

In the council disciplinary hearing, the doctor faced 12 counts and the scope of the professional decision was larger than for an alleged criminal offense.

"In the disciplinary hearing, medical professionals have more knowledge about medical examinations in order to determine whether his conduct was reasonable," Cheung said.

Former Hong Kong Medical Association president Gabriel Choi Kin said patients trust doctors less now after several improper acts had come to light in recent years.


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