The father of a two-year-old boy who died from COVID-19 complications last month expressed frustration on Thursday after the New Taipei City Government refused to provide an audio file of the call he and his wife made to request an ambulance.
Speaking to reporters outside city hall in Banciao District (板橋), the father, surnamed Lin (林), said that he was given a verbatim transcript and told he could only listen to the audio onsite.
The city told him this was because the recordings have the voices of fire department personnel, which are protected under the Personal Data Protection Act (個人資料保護法), Lin said.
He was told that he can go to the New Taipei City Fire Department at any time to compare its recording against the transcript, Lin said.
“This is totally absurd,” he said, referring to the claims about personal data protection, which he said was not an issue when he applied for and received the recording of his call to the 1922 hotline in a similar request to the Centers for Disease Control.
Earlier this week, the father and his wife filed applications with the New Taipei City Government, the Jhonghe District (中和) Public Health Center and the 1922 hotline asking them to release recordings of the phone calls they made.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Lin urged the government to explain why it had taken 81 minutes for an ambulance to arrive to take his son to hospital, a delay that he said contributed to the child’s death.
The boy was treated for six days at Shuang Ho Hospital in Jhonghe, but died on April 19, the first child in Taiwan to die of COVID-19 complications.
On Thursday, New Taipei City Fire Department Director Huang Te-ching (黃德清) said that Lin did not listen to the recordings when he picked up the transcript at city hall.
The 119 calls are emergency case reporting that contain personal information, which is different from a 1922 call, which is why Lin was provided with only the transcript and not an audio file, Huang said.
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