Sun, Jul 06, 2003 - Page 3 News List

SARS leaves trail of job vacancies in its wake


The SARS emergency may now be in recession, but as the WHO lifts Taiwan off its list of SARS-affected areas, Taipei's medical profession, which bore the brunt of the virus's devastation, continues to lick its wounds.

Few medical institutions and professionals in the capital escaped scrutiny and criticism of their work during the crisis, while a number of high-profile casualties reminded everyone that nobody was safe while an angry public was busy looking for somebody to blame.

Doctors facing the most criticism were from Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital, the hospital suffering the worst SARS effects. Wu Kang-wen (吳康文), Hoping Hospital's former superintendent, was removed from his post and his doctor's certificate revoked. Wu, together with the former dean of the department of Infectious Diseases Lin Jung-ti (林榮第), have since been officially indicted for their negligence for eight years by Taipei Prosecutors' Office. Pros-ecutors believe Wu and Lin covered up the in-hospital outbreak rather than handling the problem properly.

Dr. Chou Ching-kai (周經凱), another Hoping Hospital doctor, was deprived of his status as a civil servant for his refusal to return to the hospital to be quarantined when the city government gave the order to all hospital staff.

Dr. Liao Cheng-hsiung (廖正雄) of Jen Chi Hospital also had his doctor's certificate revoked for mishandling the in-hospital outbreak.

And when a new SARS cluster outbreak happened in Taipei Municipal Yang Ming Hospital, its superintendent Wang Tai-lung (王泰隆) handed in his resignation one day after the discovery of the infection.

After all the suffering and the punishments, at least now Taipei is more prepared for a new wave of SARS outbreak, if any take place.

"We are now highly aware and alert of SARS. Even if the epidemic returns, we are much better prepared, and what happened in Hoping Hospital will not happen again," said Chang Heng (張珩), director of the Taipei City Bureau of Health.

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