Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Chen's son-in-law denies malpractice allegations

STAFF WRITER

Facing malpractice charges, the Taipei Hospital under the Department of Health yesterday rushed to defend orthopedist Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) son-in-law, saying that Chao is not responsible for a patient's death.

Hospital records showed that the 84-year-old female patient came to the hospital on July 2 this year seeking treatment for back and leg pain, and was diagnosed with a lumbar fracture and lumbar spinal canal stenosis.

On July 7, Chao performed two operations on the patient. On July 29, the patient was then referred to the hospital's rehabilitation center and was released from hospital almost a month later.

The woman later returned to the hospital and on Sept. 6, she died as a result of ventricular fibrillation in the hospital's intensive care unit, officials said.

According to hospital superintendent Huang Kun-chang (黃焜璋), the patient died of ventricular fibrillation, a cardiac disorder, which was unrelated to the orthopedic surgery performed by Chao.

It was after leaving the hospital in August, Huang said, that the patient started to experience nausea and a loss of appetite.

On Sept. 3, the hospital arranged gastroscopy to find out the cause. Minutes after the gastroscopy, the patient lost consciousness and was diagnosed with ventricular fibrillation.

"Two months had passed from the time of the patient's orthopedic surgery and the gastroscopy. Also, different doctors were involved," Huang said, adding that the patient had a long history of cardiovascular disease.

Chao denied malpractice and told reporters that the bereaved families targeted him because of his connection to the president.

"If it were my problem, the patient would have fallen ill in the orthopedic ward," Chao said.

"They want to blame on because my special status," he added.

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