Executive Yuan Disregards Overworked Doctors in Taiwan Water Park Explosion

Executive Yuan Disregards Overworked Doctors in Taiwan Water Park Explosion
Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像
What you need to know

The Taiwan Radical Nurse Union calls upon the government to deal with the lack of medical staff. If the Ministry of Health and Welfare doesn’t start implementing permanent manpower to help in the field, it is predicted that by the end of July, medical personnel will be extremely overworked.

Listen
powered by Cyberon

There is currently an insufficient amount of medical staff available to aid the large number of victims injured in the Taiwan water park explosion. Over 20 members of The Taiwan Radical Nurse Union, the National Association for Firefighters’ Rights and the Social Democratic Party gathered at the Executive Yuan to give full account on the current situation on the morning of July 6.

The Radical Nurse Union urges the government to deal with the lack of medical workers. If the Ministry of Health and Welfare doesn’t start implementing permanent manpower to help in the field, it is predicted that by the end of July, medical personnel will be extremely overworked.

Newtalk reports, the protesters at the scene were very emotional and many of them shed tears as they spoke. Nurses are reprimanding the Ministry of Health and Welfare that as soon as disaster strikes, the only thing they can think of is putting retired or resigned medical staff back to work and demanding medical personnel to work voluntarily.

The nurses say, “We are being filmed and criticized every day, do you have any idea what we’re going through?” It is not until the nurses cry out their complaints and threaten to force their way into the Executive Yuan does a representative calmly walks towards them to accept the petition.

But as the representative, Director Su Xing, accepts the petition, he stresses, “Our first and foremost duty is to rescue people.” While the nurses plead for the government to take initiative and handle matters, Su merely replies with, “Really. Saving people comes first.“ Then he immediately returns to the government building, initiating a burst of anger from the protestors.
The nurses say, “You don’t have to tell us that saving people comes first, we are already well aware of that. But you are not the one saving them!”

Apple Daily reports, after the explosion at the water park, every hospital emergency room was packed with burning victims. Never having dealt with an explosion such as this one, the front line of nurses all took turns in caring for the patients. The Radical Nurse Union severely criticized the insufficient amount of nurses, as well as the gap of proficiency. They hope the Ministry of Health and Welfare will ask for international aid from people specializing in the field of burn victims to cultivate the Taiwanese specialized care team and to rehabilitate it quickly.

At the same time, the government should establish safety protection networks to help medical personnel avoid medical disputes.

A nurse recalls June 30, the day of the explosion. Three patients were delivered to the emergency room that night. She said she never dealt with burn victims before. When she saw the patients’ skin peeling off and felt their pain, she became terrified and scared. The nurse’s younger colleague had only been working at the hospital for three months, but they could only brace themselves and treat the patients.

The nurse says, because there wasn’t enough medical staff, the other 18 patients who weren’t injured in the Taiwan water park explosion could not be treated. She also didn’t get off work until nine in the morning the next day.

The Radical Nurse Union points out that insufficient medical staff is a structural problem which is why unprecedented emergencies are not handled well. The slogan of the protestors at the Executive Yuan was, “Replenishing labor power is the top priority!”

CNA reports, Li Yan-rong of the Social Democratic Party, also legislator candidate for the Songshan electoral district, believes the government should handle these structural problems by having the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Health and Welfare step forward. The government shouldn’t replace professional aid with volunteers, alternative military service and religious ceremonies, or even abuse the kindness of front line medical staff.

Li says the Kaohsiung gas explosion, Fuxing air crash, Penghu aviation accident and Taiwan water park explosion have all been matters concerning public safety. Seeing the government lacking an emergency safety network and a long-term public safety system, he says, “If another unexpected disaster happens in the future, will we only be able to stand watching and pray?”

NOWnews reports that Miao Bo-ya of the Social Democratic Party, also legislative candidate for the Wenshan electoral district, believes that the consortium of medical institutions in recent years has led to cost reduction. Miao states this is the reason for lack of medical staff. Merely relying on a small team in times of major disasters isn’t a long-term strategy.

She says the Ministry of Health and Welfare should start unifying the labor power and reinforcing staff soon. This gives medical staff more time to rest. They should also provide sufficient compensation for working overtime to ensure the most fundamental labor rights.

But in the long run, the ministry should start from the management of hospitals and reformation of the medical insurance system to solve the lack of medical personnel.

Translated by Sarah Grasdijk
Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
Newtalk
Apple Daily
CNA
NOWnews