Thu, Jul 16, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Legislator pushes for all medical records in Chinese

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) said yesterday she would propose two amendments in the fall session to require that doctors write patients’ medical records in Chinese.

In a press release, Chao said the amendments to the Physician’s Act (醫師法) and the Medical Care Act (醫療法) would oblige doctors to describe symptoms and illnesses in Mandarin unless there is no Chinese terminology for them.

Chao said doctors in Japan, South Korea, Germany and China keep medical records in the official language of those countries, but in Taiwan, doctors often use English, making it difficult for patients to read about diagnoses and prescriptions.

Chao said a patient has the right to know this information.

“Patients’ rights have long been ignored,” she said.

Under the proposal, hospitals and clinics would also be required to provide patients with copies or summaries of their medical records in Chinese.

Chao’s amendments follow campaigning by district court judges and doctors for medical records in Chinese.

Similar amendments have been proposed by former KMT legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) and KMT Legislator Chen Ken-te (陳根德), but they did not gain momentum in the legislature.

Chao said she would hold hearings to gauge public opinion on the issue and urged the Department of Health to propose a timetable to perfect English-to-Chinese translation of medical jargon.

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