All political events should be kept away from hospitals as much as possible, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Saturday, adding that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians crowding National Taiwan University Hospital’s (NTUH) emergency room to visit two KMT legislators were a bad example for the public.
Ko made the remark on Facebook, following a statement by the National Taiwan University Hospital Union earlier that afternoon urging politicians to stop using the hospital and its medical professionals as background for their election campaigns and to respect patient privacy.
The union’s post came after Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and other KMT politicians visited KMT legislators Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) and Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍) in NTUH’s emergency room on Friday night.
Photo provided by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)
Lin and Chen were hospitalized in the acute and critical care section of the emergency room.
Chen’s fingers and Lin’s leg were caught in a door and they claimed to have difficulty breathing after a scuffle earlier on Friday when police at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Taipei blocked a group of KMT lawmakers and city councilors from entering it.
The KMT politicians were there to demand that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) offer an explanation for the suicide last year of Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠), the then-director-general of the Osaka branch of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Japan.
Their demand came after Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如), a former campaign aide to Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), was indicted on Tuesday for allegedly directing an online influence campaign and accusing the Osaka branch of failing to help Taiwanese stuck at Japan’s Kansai Airport when Typhoon Jebi hit the country on Sept. 4 last year.
Ko, who was an acute and critical care surgeon and the director of the Department of Traumatology at NTUH for many years, said that the emergency room is often crowded and the medical professionals working there are extremely busy, so any unnecessary non-medical affairs would add to their stress.
Several other physicians also took to Facebook to criticize the case.
Posting photographs of KMT officials standing by Chen in a hospital bed and Lin in a wheelchair holding a bouquet of flowers, NTUH obstetrician Shih Jin-chung (施景中) wrote that he had seen patients with severe burns or hemorrhaging in the acute and critical care section of the emergency room, so the space is not suitable for taking group photographs, giving flowers or holding hands with election candidates.
How would such scenes make patients and their families feel? Shih asked.
Tan Che-kim (陳志金), an intensive care unit physician at Chi Mei Foundation Medical Center, wrote that people should not use the emergency room for publicity stunts.
Tan listed eight “outrageous behaviors,” including occupying a bed in the emergency room for a pinched finger, when many patients are waiting in stretchers or receiving intravenous injections sitting up.
Former premier William Lai (賴清德), the DPP’s vice presidential candidate, yesterday said that from his perspective as a medical doctor, there was no need for Chen to go to the emergency room.
“KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) visited her and held up her right hand, so this showed her right hand did not sustain serious injury,” he said.
Separately yesterday, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Han urged KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民) to apologize to a policewoman for allegedly pushing her during the protest on Friday.
As a cultured man and former vice president of a university, Arthur Chen “should have the courage to openly apologize for his inappropriate conduct toward the police officer on duty,” Han said.
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said that Arthur Chen’s physical contact with the policewoman was “a minor accident.”
The ministry’s decision to keep out legislators who wanted to better understand Su’s death was a bigger issue, he added.
Additional reporting by Jason Pan and Ann Maxon
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