Abused girl at center of scandal `brain dead'


Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 2

The young girl who was refused entry to a series of Taipei hospitals after being severely injured by her abusive father will be declared brain-dead today, medical officials said yesterday.

Executive deputy superintendent Tung Jui-lung (童瑞龍) of the Tung General Hospital in Taichung County announced that the the girl, surnamed Chiu, and her family will hold a press conference today. The family will also announce that they will donate Chiu's organs as an expression of their appreciation for the support they received from the public in a case that has rocked the administration of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Chiu had been severely beaten by her father before being forced to travel to Taichung for treatment after being turned away at the Municipal Jen Ai Hospital and other Taipei City hospitals.

The resulting uproar triggered an investigation into why Chiu was refused treatment when there were sufficient beds in the hospitals.

The Department of Health declared on Friday that it would make changes to a national system for patient transfers.

The new system is expected to take effect in June.

After discussions with various hospital and emergency surgical experts on Friday, the department decided that it would establish six medical-care sectors.

Within each sector, hospitals will be classified according to a three-point scale based on medical-care capability.

In the new system, patients needing emergency care must be accepted by "grade one" hospitals in the sector and cannot be transferred to hospitals in other sectors.

In the event of a large-scale medical emergency, however, patients will be transferred to hospitals between sectors as needed via the national Emergency Operations Center.

The six sectors will be aligned with the nation's six national health insurance divisions: the Taipei region, including Taipei City, Taipei County and Ilan; the northern region, including greater Hsinchu and Miaoli counties; the central region, including greater Taichung, Changhua and Nantou counties; the southern region, including Yunlin, Chiayi, and Tainan; a region including Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County and Pingtung; and an eastern region, including Hualien and Taitung counties.