Thu, Jan 13, 2005 - Page 2 News List

ALD kids can be treated in Taipei: minister

TAIPEI , CNA

The nation's top health official said yesterday that a medical team at National Taiwan University Hospital is capable of treating three brothers suffering from a rare disorder called adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).

Legal, Tax Issues

Department of Health Minister Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) was responding to questions by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Chi-wen (江綺雯) about the conditions of the three brothers from Kaohsiung.

Chiang said that Chang Ming-hui (張明輝), the father of the three brothers, faced tremendous pressure about the legality of donations and tax issues after the public gave an enthusiastic response to his call for financial help to pay for his eldest son's treatment in the US. A staggering NT$72 million (US$2.25 million) was donated in just a few days.

Chang had originally hoped to take only his eldest son, 13-year-old Po-chun (博鈞), to the US for treatment, but the phenomenal amount of donations has enabled them to also take the two younger brothers.

Chang's decision to seek treatment in the US also shows a distrust of domestic medical standards, she added.

Chen said that patients and their families have every right to choose medical treatment as they see fit, but added that it is necessary to set up a better system for regulating donations.

Family's Decision

Chen said that he will instruct the Bureau of National Health Insurance to contact the Chang family to inform them of the latest developments in medical care in Taiwan and to discuss the pros and cons of the issue, but "will respect the decisions of the family."

Meanwhile, Chang confirmed yesterday that the family will leave for the US on Jan. 19 and is expected to stay there for between six months and one year.

Chang, an official with the Kaohsiung City Government in charge of laws and regulations, said that the operations and post-surgery care will take between three and six months, with a further six months for follow-up treatment, and that they will decide upon the date of their return only after seeing the progress of the three brothers.

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