Fri, May 30, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Taipei names new health chief, exonerates doctors

BUREAUCRATIC MANEUVERS Chang Heng, deputy superintendent of Shin Kong Wu Ho Su Hospital, will replace Chiu Shu-ti as head of the Bureau of Health



Taipei City Government yesterday named Shin Kong Wu Ho Su Memorial Hospital deputy superintendent Chang Heng (張珩) as the new director of the city's Bureau of Health.

Chang takes over from Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑媞), who resigned on Sunday after mounting criticism over her handling of the closure of Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital.

Chang, 47, is an adviser to the city government and helped Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) set up the Chin Feng Huang rescue team, a special squad under the Fire Bureau that provides emergency treatment similar to that provided by the ambulance service. He also wrote the medical section of Ma's white paper published in the run-up to the mayoral election five years ago.

"We are in an unfortunate time. I only hope that we can do our best to control the [SARS] epidemic," Chang said in a television interview yesterday. "At the same time, we should learn from past experience and use it to fight the disease."

Unlike his predecessor, Chang has abundant clinical experience.

He graduated and obtained a doctor's degree in clinical medicine from National Taiwan University Medical School.

Chang began his career at National Taiwan University Hospital, specializing in cardiac surgery. He transferred to Shin Kong Hospital in 1993.

As well as naming a new health chief yesterday, the city government said that it had reversed its decision to punish three doctors at Hoping Hospital for failing to report SARS cases there.

Deputy Taipei Mayor Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) said that according to new evidence, doctors Chang Yu-tai (張裕泰), Hsin Kuo-hui (辛國輝) and Lin Jung-ti (林榮第) did try to report the cases according to regulations, but could not fax out the report sheets after the hospital was sealed off because the phone lines were jammed.

Pai Hsiou-hsiung (白秀雄), another deputy mayor who investigated the incident, told a television news channel that fax machines at the Bureau of Health were broken at that time and might have not have received the faxes.

Ou said he had asked the bureau to restore the doctors' good names as soon as possible.

"Since we have been rather quick in punishing the doctors, we should correct our mistakes just as quickly," Ou said.

Chang Yu-tai's wife said no apology was needed.

"We are grateful for the city government's fast response. We are not looking for apologies from the city government. It is enough that they cleared up the misunderstandings in public during the press conference," she said.

Meanwhile, the city government yesterday decided to revoke the doctor's certificate of Hoping Hospital's former superintendent Wu Kang-wen (吳康文) for concealing the SARS outbreak at his hospital.

The board also decided to suspend Lin Jung-ti (林榮第), director of the hospital's infectious diseases department, for three months for incompetence.

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