A retired Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) employee yesterday said the company was refusing to cover his medical expenses despite medical experts and the Council of Labor Affairs saying that his illness was caused by working at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Shihmen District (石門), New Taipei City (新北市).
“I speak before you today, but my days are numbered,” Lee Kuei-lin (李桂林), 65, said in a weak voice.
Lee said after he retired in 2007, he was diagnosed with blood dyscrasia, a condition used to describe diseased blood, and cancer of the larynx.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
“I was exposed to high-level non-ionizing radiation in a short period of time in 1979, which can cause blood dyscrasia,” he said. “Results of medical examinations at National Taiwan University Hospital, National Cheng Kung University Hospital and Taipei Veterans General Hospital have proved that there is a strong correlation between my blood dyscrasia and my laryngeal cancer. They all produced papers saying that these are occupational diseases. A report from the council also said so, but Taipower refuses to recognize the results.”
Lee filed a lawsuit against his former employer three years ago. His plight has attracted the attention of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), labor rights groups and anti-nuclear advocates, who held a press conference yesterday accusing Taipower of turning its back on one of its employees.
Liang Tien-jui (梁天瑞), director of Taipower’s department of nuclear generation, said Lee suffered from an abnormally low platelet count, known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, whose cause is unknown.
Lee’s low-platelet problem was confirmed by a physical examination paid for by Taipower in April 1970, six months before the plant began operations.
Liang said a medical examination conducted in 2008 failed to follow the guidelines established by the council for determining occupational diseases caused by non-ionizing radiation. Liang also said the doctors did not take into account the medical history of the patient and several crucial statistics.
While Lee said he has medical certificates proving that his cancer was indeed an occupational disease, Liang said the council’s list of occupational diseases says laryngeal cancer is caused by asbestos, not by the non-ionizing radiation to which Lee was exposed.
“The council said in its report that the disease was ‘acquired when the person performed his duty,’ which is very different from the definition of an ‘occupational disease,’” Liang added.
According to the council, an occupational disease in one in which the job is determined to contribute more than 50 percent to the cause of the disease.
If the disease is said to be acquired during the execution of a worker’s duties, it means that while there is no irrefutable evidence showing that the disease was directly caused by the job, past cases have indicated that the worker could be in the high-risk group and that the job might be cause of the disease.
“We will present all the evidence in court,” Liang said.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin