Sun, May 18, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Letters:

Heroes and victims

After the shutdown of Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital, two nurses died because of SARS infections. Many other nurses and doctors at Hoping Hospital have been struggling to survive in other hospitals. It may have been the right decision to close Hoping Hospital, but the quarantine measures adopted were reckless.

If the management of the hospital had not concealed SARS cases intentionally and there had been appropriate isolation and prevention measures, the nurses would not have died and the virus would not have spread so widely. There is no doubt that the nurses or doctors were not afraid of death. But if they had been properly protected and equipped, they would still be alive.

It is true that the nurses were brave -- they are heroes and martyrs. But they are victims as well. I urge prosecutors to find out who is responsible for their deaths.

Also, the government, whether central or local, should learn a lesson from this incident and create standardized emergency plans to deal with epidemic such as this. If they do, the Hoping Hospital staff will not have died in vain.

Martin Chen

Taipei

SARS highlights problems

The SARS epidemic has highlighted the chaos afflicting the nation's culture and politics.

The boycott against the government by the pan-blue camp because of differences in ideology continues to play havoc with the national interest while friction between the country's political leaders has not been lessened by the crisis.

All this has chipped away at the government's ability to bring the SARS epidemic under control.

The media continues to milk the SARS story, as expected, in an irresponsible and immoral fashion.

Sensation, innuendo and rumormongering can be witnessed everyday in the media. This is not just out of order, this is out of control.

The general public in Taiwan must be addicted, numb or indifferent to this degraded and corrupt news after being bombarded with it day and night.

Obviously, the SARS virus spreads more easily in an ignorant and selfish community. Ignorance is forgivable and curable; selfishness has no cure.

The Taiwanese must rid themselves of this ignorance and selfishness before SARS can be brought under control.

The media must give only the hard facts to the consumers, refrain from tabloid reporting and leave its opinions for the editorial page.

More importantly, the partisan fighting must be stopped. Status-quo politics in Taiwan have proved to be unable to serve the public. To end the status quo, voters should next year study the cold, hard facts and make their decision.

Hopefully, love and courage will prevail over cynicism, indifference, ignorance and selfishness to help re-engineer the dysfunctional democracy.

Yang Ji-charng

Columbus, Ohio

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