Sat, May 24, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Hoping investigation now focusing on top officials

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Chief Prosecutor Chen Ta-wei (陳大偉) has officially summoned former Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital superintendent Wu Kang-wen (吳康文) and the hospital's Infectious Diseases Department head Lin Jung-ti (林榮第) to be at the prosecutors' office on Monday.

"With Center for Disease Control (CDC) officials' advice, we decided to do so because their quarantine period is completed," Chen said yesterday. "Their testimonies will be crucial in deciding whether the hospital should be blamed for the outbreak of SARS last month."

To investigate and decide who should take responsibility for the outbreak, Chen said prosecutors have interviewed more than 20 doctors, nurses, patients and officials in the past two weeks.

Those interviewed include Shin Kong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital Deputy Superintendent Huang Fang-yen (黃芳彥), former CDC director-general Chen Tzay-jinn (陳再晉), former Taipei City Bureau of Health director Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川), current CDC Director-General Su Yi-jen (蘇益仁) and Hoping Hospital's Emergency Room Director Chang Yu-tai (張裕泰).

"Interviews with related personnel are completed. Now, we need to hear what [Wu and Lin] will say," Chen Ta-wei said.

According to Chen, former health director Yeh advised prosecutors to look up the patients' records because they would contain more useful information to help the prosecutors find out whether the Hoping Hospital had been honest and open in its reports to the Department of Health and Taipei's Bureau of Health

Prosecutors asked for access to the patients' files and CDC officials entered the Hoping Hospital on Tuesday to collect the records for March, April and May.

According to the prosecutors' office, prosecutors will expose these files to direct sunlight for more than 24 hours before handling them to make sure that the documents do not carry any SARS virus.

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