'Doctors said they'd done everything and it was up to him to live': Josie Ho on husband's near-fatal health battle

'Doctors said they'd done everything and it was up to him to live': Josie Ho on husband's near-fatal health battle
Josie Ho said that her husband Conroy Chan almost died late last year.
PHOTO: Instagram/Josie Ho

When Hong Kong actor-musician Conroy Chan helped his elderly parents move the furniture in their Australia home last year, he ended up with a burst aorta and on the verge of death.

His wife, singer-actress Josie Ho who's also the daughter of the late casino king Stanley Ho, spoke to Carol Cheng in the latest episode of the latter's YouTube talk show The Do Show.

Josie, 48, said that Conroy, 50, went to Australia last year to visit his family as he was unable to return previously due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He had planned to stay for three weeks.

'He said he seemed to have hurt his pelvis'

During the visit, he had good meals with his family and helped out in what he could.

Josie, who married Convoy in November 2003, said: "He is very filial, his parents are old and wanted him to help move a cage and a mattress."

When Conroy called Josie after that, he told her that he felt a lack of energy.

"He said he seemed to have hurt his pelvis… and he couldn't move. His range of movements was only in his room or his bed," she shared.

Over the next few days, Josie realised that his condition seemed to have worsened, although he refused to admit it.

She said: "When we video-called each other every night, I would tell him, 'You are on your bed again, I thought you are there to visit your family? Why don't you go out and accompany your parents to watch television?'

"He would tell me that he couldn't because he was really hurt and the pain seemed to have spread up till his waist."

Josie also realised later that he had a sickly pallor.

"When one is unwell, they have many colours on their face, and it was strange, he looked grey. One side of his face looked bruised, another side looked yellow and another side looked pink. It was very abnormal," she added.

On Oct 5, 2022, Josie said that Conroy attempted to drive his father to the hospital but felt excruciating stomach pains on the way. He told Josie that his stomach "hurt so badly that it was not normal".

He also told Josie later that he "couldn't see or hear anything", as he had fainted near the hospital.

'There was a good chance he wouldn't survive the week'

As Conroy did not have medical records in Australia, the hospital took six hours to do a full medical check-up on him before revealing the results to him.

Josie said: "They told him, 'The aorta below your navel has burst. Your stomach hurts because it is full of blood.'"

Conroy underwent surgery immediately as it was a medical emergency. Josie added that during the operation, the doctor ruptured his urethra, which is the urinary tube.

She also said that Conroy had major swelling after the surgery.

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Josie said: "His stomach swelled like he was nine months pregnant, under his lungs. He often said that he couldn't breathe and was very scared. We were all worried that he couldn't breathe."

She also found that his wound had not been sutured and was told by the doctors that they couldn't complete the surgery all at once. As Conroy fell into a coma later, the doctors told Josie that they would need to continue operating on him over the next four days.

Later, she also found that he was urinating black blood and had to have more than 10 packs of blood transfused to him every day.

"The doctors said they had done everything and it was up to him to live. In fact, there was a good chance he wouldn't survive the week," Josie shared.

'If it spreads, they will have to amputate his whole leg'

Josie also realised that all his toes had turned purple and were ice-cold.

Worried about his worsening condition, Josie called the doctors in Hong Kong for help, and was told to monitor his feet.

Josie said: "They said that if the toes turn purple, it will be regarded as diabetic feet. If it spreads, they will have to cut off his toes. If more than half of the foot is purple, the foot will be cut off and if it spreads all the way up, they will have to amputate his whole leg."

In an attempt to keep his legs warm, Josie had a full meal and wore a lot of thermal underwear and heat packs the next day to spread body heat to him.

"I hugged his legs and his joints because they were all ice-cold, so that I could spread my warmth to him," said Josie.

'Don't touch it anymore or they will tie you up'

Josie realised that while he was unconscious, his hands kept moving.

"At one point, he raised his hands and attempted to touch his nose and throat," Josie shared.

The doctors and nurses were concerned as it was not a good way to wake up from a coma and suggested to Josie to bind his hands and legs instead.

However, Josie refused as Conroy was admitted to hospital previously in Hong Kong for other medical conditions and told Josie that he did not want it.

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In the end, Josie went to Conroy's bedside to coax him, saying: "Be good, don't touch your nose and throat anymore, you have a nose and throat. Don't touch it anymore or they will tie you up."

Conroy did not move his hands anymore and he woke up one month and a week after he first fell into a coma.

As his condition improved, Josie and Conroy returned to Hong Kong for treatment, but he still needed to use a urine bag and stoma. They are currently still seeking treatment for his condition.

When Carol asked how Josie was feeling and what her biggest wish is now, she said: "I hope that Conroy can be a free person who can walk, pee and defecate on his own. Be a normal person and not have to carry any bags."

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yeo.shuhui@asiaone.com

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