Sat, May 24, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Taipei City Bureau of Health director gets reprimanded

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Director of The Taipei City Bureau of Health Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑媞) was scolded by her predecessor Professor Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川) yesterday for not reacting quickly enough to administrative faults within the bureau.

The rebuke came after the bureau's Secretary-General Hsiao Tung-ming's (蕭東銘) delayed announcing the punishment for the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital and three doctors at the hospital.

The bureau had signed an order on May 13 to fine the hospital and the doctors for putting off reporting possible SARS cases. The hospital was to be fined NT$1,100,000, and dean of the emergency department Dr. Chang Yu-tai (張裕泰), dean of the Department of Infection Dr. Lin Jung-ti (林榮第), and visiting staff Dr. Hsin Kuo-hui (辛國輝) were to be fined NT$90,000 each.

Chiu pointed out that this notice was handled by Hsiao.

According to the Taipei City government's internal administrative regulations, any official notice, after it is signed and approved, should be delivered to the recipient within seven days.

The notice, however, was not formally made known until Thursday, which was nine days after the notice was signed.

"Hsiao has already taken the initiative and asked that he be disciplined. Meanwhile, I should be responsible for the careless supervision," Chiu said.

Hsiao has been disciplined with two censures for his administrative oversights.

Although Chiu censured Hsiao accordingly, her private talk with Yeh after the press conference showed that she was reluctant to do so.

Chiu's unwillingness made Yeh raise his voice during their conversation and attracted media attention.

"I find it too harsh to discipline Hsiao over this," Chiu said to Yeh.

"This is not a matter of harshness, but if someone needs to be disciplined it is only correct to do it quickly," Yeh said.

But when asked by the media whether the Taipei City Government was trying to circumvent responsibility, or get its officials out of trouble, Yeh answered that he did not see anything of the kind within the administration.

On Monday, Chiu said the fining of Taipei Municipal Gandau Hospital was the first of its kind in Taipei City, but the evidence suggests that Hoping was supposed to be the first.

The bureau chief of the first division Lee Yu-chu (李玉珠) explained that Hsiao had the authority to decide on the punishments for the hospitals on the director's behalf.

Lee said Hsiao might have been too busy and forgot to tell Chiu about the order.

Meanwhile, Liao has declared his intention to appeal against the bureau's decision.

"The doctor's disciplinary board only decided on the doctor's medical judgments and actions, to see whether a doctor is still suitable to continue practicing medicine," said Shen Hsi-che (沈希哲), the bureau chief of third division, at the press conference.

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