Fri, Feb 15, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Cold snap sparks rise in hospital emergency visits

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Hospitals have reported a surge in the number of emergency medical cases related to the recent cold, wet weather, which has seen the temperature drop to below 10oC in many parts of the nation over the past week.

Central Weather Bureau officials forecast that temperatures were likely to remain low until the end of this week.

At least five people died as a result of the cold weather before the Lunar New Year holiday, hospital sources said.

Following the holiday, a number of patients suffering from hypothermia were sent to Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei, one of whom died, a hospital emergency room staffer said.

Kao Wei-feng (高偉峰), the doctor in charge of Taipei Veterans General Hospital's emergency room, said that the hospital received several patients aged between 50 and 60 who had fainted while soaking in hot springs during the cold snap.

To cope with the sudden increase in the number of emergency cases, National Taiwan University Hospital has stepped up its management of the wards at its stroke center and cardiology department, a spokesman for the hospital said.

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei County said that, during the past week, the hospital's emergency room was inundated with patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes, asthma, diarrhea or respiratory diseases.

Chang Gung said the number of patients visiting its emergency room grew by between 10 percent and 20 percent during this period.

In related news, shelters in Taipei City and Taipei County have reported about 300 visits from homeless people, while a local social welfare foundation said that it had opened nine shelters around the nation for homeless people.

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