Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) was flown to Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital yesterday after sustaining injuries to her lower back in a fall early in the morning.
Greater Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said Chen had led a delegation to the International Folklore and Folk Game Festival at Dongshan River Park in Yilan County on Saturday.
Chen spent the night at the Evergreen Resort Hotel in Jiaosi (礁溪) and was expected to return to Greater Kaohsiung yesterday morning, but she slipped in the bathroom and injured her lumbar region.
While Chen is hospitalized, Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) will assume responsibility for the day-to-day management and operations of the city, and administration will not be affected, Lai said.
Asked who would take responsibility for the fall, given the hotel’s reputation as a five-star establishment, Lai said the hotel would provide an explanation, adding that Chen would cover all medical expenses.
Ho Chi-kung (何啟功), director-general of the Greater Kaohsiung Department of Health, said he received a call from Chen at 6:17am saying she had slipped and fallen in the hotel bathroom and was unable to move.
Ho then contacted the Yilan County Bureau of Health to assist with Chen’s hospitalization, he said.
Chen was admitted to the emergency room at National Yang-Ming University Hospital, where nuclear magnetic resonance and CAT scans confirmed she had fractured her first lumbar vertebra, Ho said.
The injury did not harm Chen’s spinal cord nerves, Ho said, adding that after the Yang-Ming hospital was sure Chen could safely be transferred to another hospital, she was flown to Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and then flown to Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital.
Chen was conscious throughout, but to ensure she did not exacerbate her injuries she was confined to a gurney, Ho said.
The mayor will likely be released from hospital in 10 to 14 days, he said, adding that she would have to wear a brace.
This is the third time Chen has been hospitalized since becoming mayor of Kaohsiung in December 2006.
In early June, she was admitted with acute pyelonephritis and hospitalized for a week. In April 2007, she was hospitalized for 45 days after suffering a minor stroke.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer