Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Taipei assigns new health director

CHANGE The city's department of health has a new boss in the wake of the Chiu scandal, where no hospital could be found that would admit a badly beaten toddler

CNA , Taipei

Sung Yen-jen (宋晏仁), an anatomy and cellular biology professor at National Yang Ming University, was sworn in as director of the Taipei City Government's department of health yesterday.

Sung filled the post vacated by Chang Hang (張珩), who resigned last month to assume responsibility for a medical incident involving the Taipei Municipal Hospital's Jen Ai branch. Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said at the changeover ceremony that as the Taipei Municipal Hospital has long maintained a cooperative program with National Yang Ming University, by joining the administrative team, Sung will help with the integration of the university and the municipal hospital, and thus contribute to the upgrading of the city's medical service system.

Chang will from now on serve exclusively as Taipei Municipal Hospital superintendent. Ma said he hopes Chang and Sung will work hand-in-hand to plug holes in the city's emergency medical service system and streamline its patient transfer operations to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy of an abused girl who was refused admission to the municipal hospital's Jen Ai branch after being critically injured by her abusive father. The girl ended up being transported to a hospital more than 100km away to Taichung County for surgery.

The 4-year-old girl, surnamed Chiu, was pronounced brain dead and died two weeks after surgery, which failed to improve her condition. Her family later donated her kidneys and liver, which have each been successfully transplanted into two female patients.

Chiu's ordeal triggered an uproar which led to an investigation into why the 4-year-old was refused treatment when there were sufficient beds in major Taipei hospitals. The Jen Ai hospital's superintendent and a neurosurgeon at the hospital have been disciplined over the incident.

After the incident, the Department of Health announced that it would overhaul the existing system for patient transfers. The new system will take effect in June.

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