Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Hospital head loses his right to practice medicine

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei City Bureau of Health said yesterday it was revoking the doctor's certificate of the superintendent of Jen Chi Hospital, Liao Cheng-hsiung (廖正雄), for concealing the outbreak of SARS in the facility.

The city made the move on the same day as health officials reported another 65 probable cases of SARS and eight more deaths.

The Department of Health said the new cases took the total to 483 and the death toll now stands at 60.

The city also suspended Chou Ching-kai (周經凱), a doctor at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital who evaded mandatory quarantine, for three months.

Hoping Hospital superintendent Wu Kang-wen (吳康文) and head of the hospital's infectious-diseases department Lin Jung-di (林榮第) would be subject to further investigation, according to the bureau.

The bureau held a meeting yesterday with the doctors' disciplinary board to determine punishment for several doctors accused of contributing to the SARS outbreak last month.

Bureau Secretary-General Hsiao Tung-ming (蕭東銘) announced the results of the disciplinary board's meeting, saying Liao will have his doctor's certificate permanently revoked over the concealment of the epidemic in Jen Chi Hospital and that Chou will be suspended from his practice for three months.

The revocation of Liao's doctor's certificate will end his medical career as he cannot qualify for a license to practice medicine without it.

Chou, a doctor with the department of digestive surgery at Hoping Hospital, was responsible for inappropriate conduct, Hsiao said.

Hsiao said Wu's and Lin's statements showed great discrepancies and that it is necessary to gather more information about the two.

Hsiao said ear, nose and throat doctor for Hoping Hospital Lee Yi-tsang (李易倉), who failed to comply with the mandatory quarantine and kept his practice in his private clinic after the hospital was sealed off on April 24, will not receive any punishment as he is a contract doctor and did not receive any formal notice from the hospital in advance of the quarantine order.

Speaking to the press ahead of the investigative meeting yesterday, Wu said the reporting process for SARS cases did not need to go through him and that the doctor in charge of diagnosing SARS patients could directly report cases to the city's health bureau.

"The doctor in charge of diagnosing the patients is responsible for reporting cases to the health bureau and doesn't need the superintendent's permission to do that," Wu said. "As a superintendent, I had no intention of interfering with or stopping the reporting process."

Lin declined to make any comments to the press yesterday, saying only, "Please don't ask me further [questions] ? I can't deal with it anymore, and I really want to kill myself.

"Ever since the SARS outbreak in Hoping Hospital, I have thought about committing suicide, but I can't because my child is still too little," he said after the investigation meeting. "Please ... have mercy on me."

Jen Chi Hospital superintendent Liao Shih-hsiung yesterday said he would report frankly at the investigative meeting and would respect its results.

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Two MOFA staffers cleared of SARS after fever reports

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