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Penghu Has Witnessed A Tremendous Improvement in Its Health Care Ability and Quality with the Localization of Health Care, and It Is Fully Committed to Providing the Best Medical Care to the Wounded After This Airplane Accident

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2014-07-26
  • Last Updated:2017-01-11

Since this airplane accident, hospitals in Penghu County have actively and fully utilized their medical capacities, and have also demonstrated a high level of emergency medical standards by responding appropriately in terms of emergency medical treatments to the following: craniotomy and craniectomy, external injuries, burns and ECMO. Responding to nonlocal families’ geographical considerations and to better care for their wounded family members, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), in collaboration with local hospitals, promptly arranged for the transfer of those patients to their families’ designated hospitals on the main island. The MOHW coordinated the deployment of military aircraft along with the Ministry of National Defense to transfer patients to hospitals in Kaohsiung, Taipei, and other places. Hospitals not only executed smooth transfers and handoffs as well as assigning medical professionals to accompany patients on the aircraft, but also promptly shouldered the medical responsibilities after transfers so that family members could care for their relatives in hospitals close to them. These hospitals did not demonstrate any lack of medical capacity, nor did they show any delays in their responses. Emergency aeromedical evacuations require certain adaptive considerations as well as risks, such as the risk associated with cabin pressure, and it is, therefore, not suited for all patients. By immediately providing medical care and appropriately completing their medical tasks following this airplane accident, local hospitals in Penghu have fully demonstrated their emergency care capacities. There are even families who asked the MOHW to thank and reward Penghu’s medical professionals and teams. 

The MOHW has always considered the localization of health care, especially in Penghu County, to be an important policy-making aim and, to achieve this aim, has adopted the following measures: Annual support for medical doctors specializing in emergency-critical care at medical centers, the integration and coordination of Penghu Hospital with Tri-Service General Hospital, guidance in obtaining certification to become an Intermediate Emergency Responsibility Hospital, fostering physicians through public scholarships, subsidies for the renovation or reconstruction of health centers, the NHI’s IDS plan for level-Ⅱand level-III offshore islands to provide physicians for consultation 24-hours a day, and other measures. To localize health care, a project dubbed the “National health care policies for improving the quality of emergency and critical care in areas with insufficient medical resources" has been included among medical center accreditation requirements since 2012. To improve emergency and critical care in rural areas, medical centers are required to assume responsibility for providing guidance or assistance to rural or offshore hospitals with insufficient medical resources. Specifically, the project offers subsidies to a total of 67 specialized physicians to provide emergency and critical care. With the aim of improving medical care quality and helping regional hospitals attain the requirements of the “Hierarchical System of Ability in Emergency-Critical Medical Care among Hospitals”, this project requests 19 medical centers to designate physicians to support 17 regional hospitals, with respect to emergency and critical care, in areas with insufficient medical resources. 

Since the end of 2012, Tri-Service General Hospital, Chi Mei Hospital, and Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital have supported Penghu Hospital and the Penghu Branch of the Tri-Service General Hospital by designating a total of eight emergency and critical-care doctors who specialize in emergencies, surgeries, chest medicine, neurology, and cardiology. Because of this collaboration among hospitals, the need for aeromedical evacuation has decreased, subsequently reducing mortality rates and transportation risks for patients and avoiding the inconveniences and expenses of traveling for both patients and their families. In terms of social and human expenses, it has saved about NT$40 million associated with aeromedical evacuations annually; thus, it is a good strategy for improving medical care in rural and offshore regions. 

Additionally, Penghu Hospital and the Penghu Branch of the Tri-Service General Hospital collaborate together: That is, the Penghu Branch of the Tri-Service General Hospital orients its emphasis toward its surgical department, and Penghu Hospital toward its internal medicine department. The collaboration of these two hospitals allows for the integration of medical resources, thus reducing the need for aeromedical evacuations. The MOHW provides annual financial support to maintain this operation and the standards of these two hospitals. To receive immediate support from large medical centers, these two hospitals also collaborate with the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital and Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital through video telephone technology. 

Hospitals and medical facilities in Penghu have been impressive in responding to this airplane accident. Emergency medical care was immediate and appropriate, and patients were promptly transferred to hospitals on the main island while respecting the needs of their family members. Many family members were thankful. In the future, the MOHW will continue to provide guidance and assistance to offshore medical-care providers, thus maintaining the quality of local medical services.