Page 4 - CUHK MEDICAL ALUMNI Newsletter Issue 2 Vol 6 2017
P. 4


            They may be medical experts in their own fields…but having a law background
            has enhanced their understanding of the legal aspects of medicine.



            ”Surgeons are at the frontline for negligence…many
              are not aware of the legal implications of malpractice.”

                                - Professor Paul Lai Bo-san

                                              (賴寶山教授, MBChB 1990)

                 hen Professor Paul Lai was   would be relevant to my teaching and
            Wvery young, he would watch       work,” he says.
            his grandfather – a herbalist - write
            prescriptions for his patients using   Professor Lai says his legal background
                                              has helped him tremendously in his
            Chinese brushes. Professor Lai would   role as an academic surgeon. ”In
            help him by preparing the ink.
                                              fact, surgeons are at the frontline for
            ”I was very close to my                negligence. Many doctors and
            grandpa. So whenever                      students are not aware of
            I was asked what I                          the legal implications
            would like to do in                           of malpractice. So I
            future, I always                               educate them to be
            said…I want to                                 mindful of the legal
            be a doctor like                                pitfalls in medicine.”
            grandpa.”                                       H a v i n g a l a w
            He has achieved                                 background also
            that dream - he is                             gives him credence
            now an academic                               w h e n  w r i ti n g
            surgeon at Prince of                         medical-legal reports
            Wales Hospital, director                   or preparing legally-
            of CUHK’s Office of Medical              sensitive audits such as the
            Education and president of the       performance of public hospitals.
            College of Surgeons of Hong Kong.  Professor Lai is Programme Director of
                                              the Surgical Outcome Monitoring and
            But these are not all the professional   Improvement Programme.
            qualifications Professor Lai has   Besides that, his legal knowledge
                                              comes in handy when his expertise   friends would mourn my passing.  But
            While in secondary school, the study of   is sought by the courts to clarify   the hospital will still carry on without
            law began to tickle his fancy. He believes   complex medical issues.  me. That was my light bulb moment.”
            his innate interest for law intensified   As a young, upcoming surgeon,   He decided to set his priorities
            when he joined the debating team.  Professor Lai worked himself to   straight. ”I am still pretty much a
            ”Many of my friends in the debating   the bone. It was a competitive   workaholic but my family, friends
            society then went on to become lawyers.   environment, he recalls.   and taking care of my spiritual
            I was the odd man out,” he recalls.  But he has had a wake-up call since   growth, are now my main priorities.”

            But this ”odd man out” is now, not   then - thanks to a book, recommended   Professor Lai says he chose to do
            only a qualified surgeon, he also   by a Facebook friend, called Who   medicine at CUHK because it was
            holds a Masters Degree in Medical   Will Cry When You Die? Life Lessons   ”a young medical school -still is
            Law from Northumbria University,   from a Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by   - with nice, caring and energetic
            UK. In 2006, Professor Lai took up a   Canadian writer, Robin Sharma.  professors, some of whom have
            three-year part-time distance learning   ”I cried when I read the book. It got   made sacrifices for the betterment
            course with the University because   me thinking…if I departed this world   of patient care.”
            it had modules such as informed   due to a stroke or an accident, who   His advice to students: ”As doctors,
            consent, patients’ confidentiality and   would cry at my funeral? Of course, my   you are entrusted to treat patients well
            medical negligence. ”I knew all these   wife, two daughters, my parents and   and effectively...don’t let them down.”
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