A coalition of human rights groups yesterday held a rally outside the Control Yuan in Taipei to demand an inquiry into the death of an Indonesian woman, who they said could have died as a result of delayed medical treatment because she was an undocumented worker.
The circumstances surrounding the death of 32-year-old Sri Kodriawati were unclear, after she sought treatment at Chu Shang Show Chwan Hospital in Nantou County in May due to a severe stomach ache, Yilan Migrant Fishermen’s Union secretary-general Allison Lee (李麗華) said.
A death certificate issued by the Nantou District Prosecutors’ Office showed that Kodriawati died “upon arrival at the hospital” at 7:46pm on May 11.
It did not indicate the cause of death.
However, Kodriawati’s boyfriend said that she was alive when he took her to the hospital, and that shortly after she was admitted to the emergency room, he was arrested by law enforcement officials and detained for being an undocumented worker.
Kodriawati arrived in Taiwan on Feb. 19, 2017, to work as a caregiver in Hualien County before running away from her official place of employment to join her boyfriend who was working for a construction company in Nantou County’s Jhushan Township (竹山), Lee said.
“We suspect that proper medical treatment might have been delayed or possibly withheld, because it seems the hospital prioritized notifying law enforcement about the undocumented workers,” Lee said.
“We hope the Control Yuan will investigate the cause of Kodriawati’s death and whether she received treatment upon arrival at the hospital,” she said, adding that the hospital has refused to release her medical records.
Wallace Huang (黃昱中), legal consultant for the union, said that the union suspected Kodriawati was left in the emergency room without a translator, because law enforcement officials took her boyfriend away.
“She might have just been left lying there without proper medical treatment,” Huang said.
Lennon Ying-dah Wong (汪英達), director of the service center and shelter for migrant workers under the Serve the People Association in Taoyuan, stressed the importance of medical ethics and treating people regardless of their status.
“No one is illegal,” Wong shouted, saying hospitals should prioritize treating people during emergencies whether or not they are undocumented workers.
A public relations officer at the hospital said that she did not have the medical records on hand, but added that the hospital has always tried to save all people regardless of their status.
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