Sat, May 03, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Nurse's death catalyst for compensation measures

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers yesterday agreed to a measure that would provide education funds to the families of medical staff who die from SARS.

The move comes a day after the death of a nurse who was caring for SARS patients at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital.

The Legislative Yuan passed the clause, which stipulates that the government should make funds available to cover all the educational expenses for children of medical professionals who die of SARS until college graduation, as part of a NT$50 billion SARS-prevention bill.

Chen Ching-chiu (陳靜秋), a 48-year-old head nurse at Hoping Hospital, died of SARS on Thursday at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou, Taipei County. She is survived by her husband and an eight-year-old daughter.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday that the clause was based on the Disaster Prevention Law (災害防治法), according to which all medical professionals or volunteer workers who become sick or disabled in the course of performing epidemic prevention work could be awarded compensation.

"For those who sacrifice their lives, such as chief nurse Chen Ching-chiu, the government should pay their children's educational expenses until college graduation," Wang said.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday paid tribute to the nurse and instructed his administration to award her a presidential commendation.

"Chen Ching-chiu's selfless spirit to sacrifice herself is an example to all medical workers," Presidential Office Spokesman James Huang (黃志芳) quoted the president as saying yesterday.

"The president also instructed the government to give the maximum compensation to her family, and appropriate care for all the medical professionals battling the disease," Huang said.

In addition, the Presidential Office would respect the Taipei City Government's decision to list Chen Ching-chui as a heroine at the Taipei Municipal Martyrs' Shrine, he said.

The DPP legislative caucus yesterday suggested that the president should also award a national medal of honor the nurse.

The party's praise for Chen Ching-chiu contrasted with its condemnation for medical workers who had evaded quarantine.

DPP legislative whip Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) yesterday highlighted the case of Chou Ching-kai (周經凱), who continued to practice at his private clinic even though he had been ordered to return to Hoping Hospital for quarantine.

"Some unethical medial workers evading their responsibilities should have their medical licenses revoked according to the Doctor's Law (醫師法) and Nursing Law (護理法)," Chen Chi-mai said.

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