Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 2 News List

SARS patient stabilizes overnight

GETTING BETTER Hoping Hospital Superintendent Chu Ta-cheng said yesterday that the patient's vital signs and fever have been responding to treatment and are stable

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The condition of the 44-year-old medical researcher who contracted SARS in his laboratory has stabilized, Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital announced yesterday.

Hospital superintendent Chu Ta-cheng (璩大成) yesterday released video footage of the patient.

The patient, who was only identified by his rank and surname, Lieutenant Colonel Chan, has been treated in the hospital's negative pressure room since Wednesday morning.

On the videotape, Chan looked tired and adjusted his oxygen inhaler at times. He also waved his hands in greeting.

Chu said that although Chan's lung infiltration has not improved, his condition has stabilized. Chu said that Chan's temperature has dropped down to 35.6?C from 38.8?C since Wednesday afternoon and showed no signs of rising again. His vital signs are stable and his breathing smoother, Chu said.

Chan has a better appetite and his diarrhea and muscular stiffness have also improved, Chu said, while his oxygen saturation concentration was increasing and his heartbeat steady.

"But SARS is a disease with variations. We will keep up our stringent monitoring of Chan's condition," Chu said.

Meanwhile, Chu rebutted speculation that Chan had expressed willingness to try the new anti-SARS drugs he has been studying when he became infected.

"It is impossible for us to administer any drugs that are still in the experimental stage," Chu said.

In order to encourage Hoping Hospital's medical staff, who experienced a difficult time during the SARS outbreak there in April, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) visited the hospital yesterday afternoon accompanied by almost 20 city government bureau directors.

Via the video-communication system, Ma talked to medical workers who took care of the SARS patient in building A9, a designated building designed for the quarantine and treatment of SARS patients.

"Your performance demonstrated that we are well prepared to confront SARS," Ma said to two nurses and a physician over the video system.

"I encourage your colleagues to continue being scrupulous about every detail when handling SARS patients," he said.

The three medical workers said that they were fine and confident.

"I believe that this is an isolated case and it did not cause a community infection," Ma said.

After leaving the hospital, Ma and his team visited various shops around the hospital and lunched at a nearby restaurant to help boost their business.

But many shop owners were pessimistic about their future.

"Obviously our business slumped when the SARS patient was sent to Hoping Hospital on Wednesday," a bakery owner said.

"We just pulled through after the last outbreak. I do not know how long we can hang on here if the same thing happens again," he said.

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