Red Brick Daily

Spare a thought for Taiwan’s overworked, underpaid and significantly underappreciated hospital staff. Did you know that a full-time nurse in Taiwan might make just NT$40,000 per month … if they’re lucky?

On top of working ridiculously long hours for ridiculously low pay, hospital staff in Taiwan are frequently the victims of abuse by patients and their relatives as security at local hospitals leaves much to be desired

Such was the case over the weekend when an extremely intoxicated man in Tainan City was taken to a local hospital. Following a check-up, emergency room staff asked the man for his National Health Insurance card in order to process both his medical records and his bill.

The man claimed he did not have his insurance card on him, and in Taiwan, those who do not bring their insurance card to the hospital are allowed to pay upfront and then be reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Bureau if they bring the card to the hospital a week after being treated. (YES, we have socialized medicine in Taiwan and it’s awesome!)

But the unnamed man decided to make a fuss and began punching himself in the face repeatedly, which, you gotta admit, must’ve been at least slightly amusing for those in the ER that night.

Staff tried to calm him down but insisted he pay his bill before leaving the hospital.

The man, however, said he was penniless.

“You have money to buy and drink near-toxic amounts of alcohol … but you don’t have NT$600-800 for your ER bill?” asked hospital employees.

This bit of logic infuriated the drunken man who went on to cause an even greater ruckus before finally being escorted from the hospital by police … to a local police station.

Stories of drunken individuals showing up at ERs across Taiwan are relatively common, with a story earlier this year involving a drunken man who told staff his penis hurt. After it quickly became clear that the man had no problems with his genitals but was merely looking for an individual to fondle him, he was also asked to leave the hospital, and also ended up being carted out in handcuffs.

Nurses and doctors have repeatedly called for greater security for hospital employees … especially in emergency rooms.

Considering how cheap high-quality medical treatment is in Taiwan due to government subsidies, it seems fair that the government should consider subsidizing hospital security as well … no?