Taiwan Will Allow Non-Physicians to Become Forensic Physicians

Taiwan Will Allow Non-Physicians to Become Forensic Physicians
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Cai Ming-zhong, general secretary of the Taiwan Medical Association, says forensic science involves professional skills, so related actions should not be done by those who are not qualified as doctors or do not have clinical experience.

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On December 8, the forensic physician law will go through a second reading in congress to allow people who are not qualified as physicians to perform autopsies.

Regarding this, the Taiwan Medical Association held a press conference on December 9 stating that if the law is passed, Taiwan will become one of the only two nations in the world, the other being China, that allow those who do not qualify as doctors to become forensic physicians.

UDN reports, the Taiwan Medical Association stresses that if the congress passes the law that allows non-physicians to become forensic physicians, doctors will reject forensic cases in the future.

Cai Ming-zhong, general secretary of the Taiwan Medical Association, says forensic science involves professional skills, so related actions should not be done by those who are not qualified as doctors or do not have clinical experience. It is also ridiculous to prohibit a physician from performing an autopsy.

Apple Daily reports, Cai added that there are 35 vacancies of anatomic pathology specialists for medical graduates to select from. So far there has been a total of more than 480 professional pathology specialists, so the filed is not in lack of forensic talents and the medical community strongly opposes the amendment of the forensic physician law.

NOWnews reports, however, Li Jun-yi, director of the Taiwan Society of Forensic Medicine, says that currently there are 40 forensic physicians in Taiwan and according to a survey conducted by the Control Yuan, doctors would rather give up being a full-time forensic physicians who can earn up to NT$ 70,000 (approximately US$ 2,131) per month and conduct autopsies case-by-case (a case being NT$ 19,000, approximately US$ 579). Some doctors earn more than NT$ 500 million (approximately US$ 15,227) a year being a part-time forensic physician.

There are also prosecutors pointing out that sometimes part-time forensic physicians don’t even remember the details of the first corpse after dissecting ten corpses in a day.

ETtoday reports, Wong De-yi, associate professor at National Taiwan University’s Institute of Forensic Medicine, says although their students are not doctors, they still have backgrounds related to life sciences and medical school.

They students have to get through three years of medical school and two years of forensic science, toxicology and other specialist training. After all this, they still have to pass the Senior Examinations and the forensic physician’s license test and need to obtain two licenses to qualify as a forensic physician. So there is not a problem of lack of professionalism.

Qiu Qing-hua, honorary director of the Taiwan Society of Forensic Medicine, also mentioned that the training provided by the Forensic Medicine Institute is a set of procedures starting from the crime scene to the dissection room. He stresses that a forensic physician is not a physician. The former focuses on investigation while the latter specializes in pathology. Qiu says that he welcomes all passionate physicians taking part in forensic physician tests to protect the rights of the deceased.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

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