Fri, May 16, 2003 - Page 3 News List

SARS claims life of Taipei doctor

LOSS OF LIFE A doctor from Taipei's Hoping Hospital died of the disease yesterday, while a physician from Kaohsiung's Chang Gung Hospital is in critical condition

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital's Lin Chung-wei (林重威) died of lung failure yesterday evening, becoming the nation's first doctor to die of SARS.

"We are sorry to announce that Lin passed away around 5:15pm. He was suffering from serious lung fibrosis and we are sorry that we could not save his life," said Cathay Hospital chairman Chen Kai-mo (陳楷模).

The 28-year-old Penghu native and Taipei Medical University graduate, who had just become a resident at the hospital in March, tended to SARS patients before becoming ill and developing SARS-related symptoms, including a fever, on April 20.

On April 29, Lin was transferred from Hoping Hospital to Cathay Hospital for medical treatment. The Cathay Hospital immediately performed an intubation on Lin due to serious lung fibrosis.

According to the Cathay Hospital, Lin's condition was unstable from the time he arrived and he was going in and out of consciousness.

Meanwhile, Lin Yung-hsiang (林永祥), a doctor from Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital who also contracted SARS, was in critical condition as of press time last night.

Lin Yung-hsiang, 28, was hospitalized on May 4 after developing a fever. According to Chang Gung, he is in critical but stable condition.

Along with him, there are another 70 medical personnel who are under quarantined or who have been hospitalized at Chung Gung. Their condition was listed as stable.

In related news, a firefighter in Taipei passed away early yesterday morning, possibly due to SARS. It was also reported that three other firefighters had possibly contracted SARS. It has yet to be confirmed whether they are SARS cases.

Kuo Kuo-chan (郭國展), 24, was an alternative service soldier who had been assigned the job of firefighter at Yen-ping substation.

According to the Taipei City Government, Kuo began experiencing a fever on April 28 while on leave at his home in Taoyuan. He went to a couple of private clinics before he was finally transferred to Taoyuan General Hospital, administered by the Department of Health, on May 8.

He was intubated on May 14 and died yesterday.

The source of Kuo's SARS infection is unknown. The possibility of Kuo having escorted a SARS patient to a hospital has been tentatively excluded.

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