Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei high school principal apologizes over hernia exam

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City’s Department of Education acknowledged yesterday that a high school failed to respect its female students during a regular health exam program and promised to take disciplinary action against the school’s principal.

Several students at Taipei Municipal Neihu High School complained they felt uncomfortable after being asked by a male doctor to take off their pants for a hernia checkup during a health exam on Monday.

Only male students used to be examined for hernias, but the school included it in the exam for its female students this year on the suggestion of the Taipei City Hospital’s Zhongxiao branch, which conducts the school’s medical check-ups.

School principal Wu Cheng-dong (吳正東) said yesterday the school had failed to notify its female students about the hernia check, and bowed as he apologized for the incident.

“I apologize for not sending notices to students, even though the hernia check was optional. We will explain the issue to parents at a meeting tonight,” he said.

Wu bowed and apologized twice, and said the doctor conducting the exams insisted that female students undergo a hernia check, even though the school’s nurse informed him that it would not be necessary.

Zhongxiao branch director Hong Shih-chi (洪士奇), however, said the doctor had simply been following checkup procedures and had done nothing inappropriate.

“We did not force female students to do the hernia checkup. They could leave the room if they did not want to do it,” Hong said.

“The doctor was just doing his job by performing the checkups,” he said.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) also defended the doctor yesterday, and said the school was at fault because it had failed to ask its female students if they were willing to undergo the hernia exam.

The education department would review the principal’s performance and issue punishment if necessary, Hau said.

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