TCM clinic poisons clients
A doctor at a Taichung-based traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic has been suspended for 30 days for prescribing drugs containing heavy metals that led to lead poisoning in at least fifteen patients.
The case first came to light after a Taichung City Councilor told reporters Friday he had been hospitalized for a month after being diagnosed with lead poisoning.
Many in his family, including his father–a former city council speaker–remain hospitalized.
The clinic owner admitted that he included powder of the mineral cinnabar, which contains lead, in the prescriptions given to some of his patients but said that it was done by mistake rather than intentionally.
Use of cinnabar powder in TMC is banned and the law stipulates that the total heavy metal content of TCMs should not exceed 30 ppm.
The latest test results showed, however, that the level of lead in some of the problem powders given to patients reached 15,281 ppm.
The city councillor told reporters that blood tests showed that his lead level was 88 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL), nearly nine times the normal level of 10 mcg/dL for an adult, while his father’s was 367mcg/dL.
Lead poisoning can cause irritation of the bowels and stomach, stomach pain, constipation, an inflamed liver or jaundice, and can also affect the sensory and motor nerve systems.
In the late stages of lead poisoning, a person can develop unsteadiness or other problems walking, muscle atrophy, or complete paralysis.
The clinic operator was fined NT$100,000 for not recording the parts of the prescriptions containing heavy metals in the patients’ medical records.
The case has been handed over to the Taichung District Prosecutors Office for further investigation, and he could face a maximum NT$500,000 fine for the incomplete patient records.
If the investigation reveals more serious violations, including confirmation that he harmed his patients and gave them toxic medicines, he could have his license revoked and face criminal liability.
Some coronavirus restrictions reimposed
The publicize the national reimposition of some facemask requirements at certain locations, Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen visited some of these locations, including a KTV.
Though she was accompanied by city officials and police, the visits were friendly, intended to provide public awareness.
The locations were facemasks are now required are KTVs, K book shops, movie theatres and bushiban cram schools.
Facemasks are now also required in elevators.
This follows on the discovery that a Belgian engineer working on wind farms in Changhua had tested as a “weak positive.”
It is unclear where or how he got the coronavirus, but 441 people he’d come in contact with have been tested.
According to CECC data, most of the people who came in contact with the Belgian man are concentrated in three counties and cities, including 330 in Changhua County, 51 in Taichung, and 22 in Taipei.
So far, of the 441 contacts that have been tested, and 366 received a negative result on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and 382 came up negative on the serum antibody test.
The man, who is in his 20s, arrived in Taiwan on May 3.
As he was preparing to return home, he took a coronavirus test that turned out positive Saturday.
He reportedly visited pubs and fitness centres, and wasn’t wearing a mask.
Protest against air pollution to take place this weekend
Environmental groups are to hold a protest this weekend on Father’s Day to draw attention to air pollution.
The event is to start at 3:30 in the park by the Taichung City Council.
They plan to form participants into the words “Net 0 Carbon”, which they hope to film from the air.
They are campaigning for the phase out of coal-fired power plants.
The Taichung Power Plant is one of the largest on the planet, and is Taiwan’s single largest stationary source of air pollution.
Some good news for history buffs
This week saw two bits of good news for history buffs.
After a gap of 28 years, the two stone dog statues that guarded the entrance to the Taichung Imperial Sugar Factory are returning.
The Factory was recently re-opened after a renovation and is now a tourist attraction.
Come historians, however, have claimed the statues don’t have proper paperwork, which the city says it will investigate.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s oldest bookstore reopened with new decor and a so-called “counseling room”.
Founded in 1912, the Regent Store is the oldest operating bookstore in the country and is located near the Taichung train station.
The renovation took almost two years to complete.
Flasher gets into trouble
A flasher caused a stir by taking pictures of herself pulling back her jacket and exposing herself in places like IKEA, at the National Taichung Theater and Mitsui Outlet Park.
Police, however, have caught up with her, and she now faces up to two years in prison.
She, and the photographer, have since expressed regret.
Image courtesy of 盧秀燕’s Facebook page