Thu, Jan 13, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Emergency operations face review

MEDICAL PROBLEMS The premier asked health officials to examine the nation's medical emergency system after an injured girl was refused admission at Taipei hospitals

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday requested the Department of Health review the nation's medical system -- including Taipei City -- after Taipei hospitals refused to admit an abused girl on Monday.

"Deeply distraught by the incident, the premier asked the health department to learn a lesson from the tragic incident and examine the nation's medical emergency system," Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference held after the weekly closed-door Cabinet meeting yesterday morning.

Chen said that Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had not participated in the news briefing about the incident at yesterday's meeting. His proxy, Deputy City Mayor King Pu-tsung (金浦聰) told the meeting that the city would conduct a "more thorough examination" of the matter.

Chen, who practiced medicine before entering politics, said that his preliminary judgment was that the problem lied in the reporting system of Taipei Municipal Jen-Ai Hospital and the way the hospital handled the case.

"Time is critical for trauma patients, especially for those suffering from head injuries," he said. "Under such circumstances, what the hospital should have done is to perform surgery first, and then worry about whether there was an empty bed."

Chen also criticized the hospital's neurology doctors for lacking compassion for such a young patient, saying they should have taken the initiative to contact other hospitals to find an available hospital bed or neurologist.

"I'm totally stunned by the fact that there wasn't a single empty bed available for a little girl suffering from a serious head injury in a city like Taipei, where medical resources are abundant," he said.

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