Fri, May 16, 2003 - Page 2 News List

SARS policy change urged

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government needs to modify its SARS remedy policy after mass infections occurred at two leading hospitals, a DPP lawmaker with a medical background urged yesterday.

"The infections at the National Taiwan University Hospital and Chang Guan Memorial Hospital revealed that even the best medical centers failed to protect themselves from the SARS virus invasion," said Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄).

Shen cautioned that more hospital transmissions could occur as 10 hospitals in northern Taiwan were designated for taking in SARS patients.

He said the current practice of dispersing SARS patients should be halted and a specialized hospital should be designated to treat patients, in an effort to stop further hospital transmissions.

"Setting up a specialized hospital for SARS medical treatment is important to urgently curb further hospital infections as well as stop the epidemic from spreading," Shen suggested.

He reiterated his concern that the 10 designated hospitals might become centers of infection, after Kaohsiung Memorial and Chang Guan hospitals confirmed hospital transmissions on Tuesday.

A specialized hospital would preferably be located on the outskirts of Taipei with specialized medical equipment to fight the flu-like virus, he suggested.

"The newly inaugurated Tri-Service General Hospital in Neihu is ideal for this task," he said.

The hospital's remote location would help to contain the virus and avoid any panic among residents close to it, he argued.

He added that patients and their families could gain confidence by being hospitalized in the newly equipped medical facility.

Shen proposed the centralized remedy policy should begin by requisitioning the 1,200-room army hospital as the SARS-treatment headquarters.

A center for preliminary diagnosis of reported cases can be set up outside the hospital.

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