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Professional medical opinion should not be disregarded
     and medical human rights must be protected

By Chi-Wan Lai, M.D.

Original article published in the Liberty Times, Taiwan, April 23-2013
Translated by Jay Tu upon request by Dr. Lai

I was awakened by a phone call at 2 a.m. on April 19th when a friend called my cell phone.  She did not know that I was on travel in the US.  My friend told me that President Chen had been transferred to Pei-De Hospital.  Half awake, I stated it was good because he was not returned to Taipei Prison.  My friend reminded me that this was a prison hospital.  I then realized that this was the place I was concerned with before because it was merely a local prison in-patient service and it did not have a psychiatric unit. (Later on, I was informed that President Chen was in fact placed in Taichung Prison within a section close to Pei-De Hospital.  This section is mainly used for accommodating sex offenders.)

In the last few days, I was hoping to see some protesting statements issued by medical professional associations in Taiwan.  However, the only thing reported was the news that President Chen attempted suicide.  Dr. Sheng Cheng-Nan did issue a stern statement, but no medical associations followed up in support.  On April 21, another good friend of mine, also a medical doctor, called me, audibly upset,  to express his deep disappointment over the medical professional associations in Taiwan.  Then it occurred to me, even though I am currently traveling abroad, that I should still do my share of duty to protest this heartless and blunt disregard of professional medical opinions by Taiwan's Ministry of Justice (MOJ).  Therefore, I would like to call on all medical professionals and associations in Taiwan to stand up and tell MOJ and Ma that I am extremely angry with their disrespect for human life and rule of law.

In a normal discharge protocol, ample time must be allowed for "discharge planning" so that the destined hospital or the family members are fully prepared with clear knowledge of what have been prescribed, drug name, dosage, schedule,  and future treatment plans (including dosage adjustment, symptoms to watch for, and possible necessary surgeries or examinations for complications if that ensues).  Also, the patient must be given sufficient prescribed medicine to carry along.  In this way, we can be assured that any risks of medical incidents and delays could be minimized.  This is also an important standards for evaluating the quality of patient safety and medical care as well as the professionalism of a hospital.  However, the medical team at Veteran General Hospital (VGH) were caught by surprise by this predawn transfer without any advance notice. (Later on, I was informed that a phone text was sent to the primary doctor for President Chen, Dr. Chou Yuan-Hua, at 5:15 a.m. to inform him about the transfer, but he was not aware of the text because he was asleep at the time. and President Chen was not allowed to bring his prescription.)

Being a member of medical consultants assembled by Control Yuan member, Huang Huang-Hsiung, who started an investigation into the imprisonment conditions of President Chen, I would like to call on all fellow medical professionals in Taiwan that we shall not tolerate this "rogue" behavior of MOJ to toss aside professional medical opinions by Dr. Chou Yuan-Hua of VGH and this "rough" handling of transfer in violation of any normal discharge planning protocols.  The medical professional associations should not remain silent.  We must tell Ma's government, loud and clear, with our "medical conscience" and "courage", that:

Professional medical opinion should not be disregarded and medical human rights must be protected. Ma's government must handle President Chen's medical care in a transparent and legal way.

By Chi-Wan Lai, M.D.
Chairman, Taiwan Medical Accreditation Council (TMAC)
Chair Professor, Medical Education Promotion Fund
Staff Neurologist, Koo Foundation Sun Yat Sen Cancer Center
125 Lih-Der Rd, Pei-Tou District, Taipei 11259, Taiwan

 

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醫療人道不容忽視 醫療專業不容踐踏

◎ 賴其萬

十九日凌晨兩點被手機叫醒,原來是一位不知我人在美國的朋友來電告知,陳前總統被移送培德醫院。我說,太高興是轉到醫院而不是北監。對方大感意外,提醒我是監獄醫院,這也才驚醒了我!培德正是我所擔心的那個不是精神專科的地區醫院。

這幾天,一直期盼可以在報紙看到醫界團體的專業聲明,但卻只看到陳前總統一度嘗試上吊自殺、沈政男醫師個人鏗鏘有力的呼籲,不見醫界團體的發聲。二十一日早上,一位醫師摯友由台灣來電,義憤填膺地表達對醫界團體的失望;這才喚醒我,只要是秉持醫者良心,雖然人在國外,也可以對這種違反人道的「暴行」發聲。以下謹以醫界成員,表達對法務部或更高層峰所做凌駕醫療專業、草菅人命行為的不滿,並呼籲醫界團體共同站出來,指責法務部執法的粗糙。

通常醫院在病人出院前,一定要有充分的時間讓醫療團隊擬定「出院計畫」,讓病人在離開原醫院時,家人或其他醫院能清楚瞭解所服藥物的名稱、劑量、服用時間、往後治療計畫(藥物的調整、症狀的觀察以及可能需要的手術或檢查),並準備充分的藥物給病人。唯有如此,病人在離院之後才不會有照顧上的落差或延誤,而這也正是醫院評鑑對醫院照顧品質與病人安全的重要指標。但,我們今天所看到的,卻是台北榮總醫療團隊對法務部的「突擊」所表現出的「措手不及」。

身為曾經參加監察院黃煌雄委員調查陳前總統醫療的團隊成員之一,我謹在此向所有醫界同僚誠懇呼籲,面對政府罔顧台北榮總精神科周元華主治醫師的專業建議,做出如此與醫療常規大相逕庭的措施,敬請醫界團體,基於醫者的「良心」與「勇氣」,共同發出正義的怒吼:醫療專業不容踐踏,醫療人道不容忽視,希望政府面對陳前總統醫療問題能光明正大、依法行政。

(作者為神經內科醫師)

2013-04-23

台灣e新聞