Wed, May 21, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Hospitals still lack right equipment, DPP legislator says


One of every three SARS cases contracted in hospitals is a health-care worker, DPP Legislator Chou Ching-yu (周清玉) said yesterday.

Chou, legislators and medical-association representatives convened a news conference to call attention to the lack of quality and availability of protective gear for medical staff.

The nation has seen 52 people die from SARS, including two doctors and four nurses.

Chou said health-care workers have a higher ratio of SARS infection than do members of the public, citing the example of Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital. Hoping Hospital, the first hospital sealed off due to an outbreak of SARS within the facility, has reported 117 probable cases. Of these 41, or 33 percent, are health-care workers and their friends or relatives.

In Jenchi Hospital, which was shut down shortly after Hoping, 11 medical-care workers account for 21 probable SARS cases in the facility.

Chou said that the ratio of medical staff contracting SARS is too high, adding they are risking their lives at their posts and that the government should pay attention to their work environment.

She suggested the government instruct those who are entering or leaving hospitals to wear surgical masks, adding that it would reduce the risk of infection.

Chin Tseng Cheng-li (靳曾珍麗), a nurses' representative, said taking care of SARS patients requires a lot of stamina and that nurses have to wear three layers of protective gear during their eight-hour shifts.

Chin said this amounts to a form of torture and suggested shifts be cut to four hours.

Taiwan Medical Association Secretary-General Lin Mao-Chuan (林茂泉) said that far fewer surgical masks and protective suits have been given to hospitals than the government claims.

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