Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Why have I become so paranoid about SARS? It’s not that I’m a hypochondriac. In fact, I’m usually not that quick to go to the doctor and I don’t like taking medication. Even when my allergies are at their worst, I resist taking my antihistamines on a daily basis because I don’t want to become dependent on them, or for my body to become too accustomed to any one medication, thereby rendering the medication ineffective.

The crux of it is the fear of the unknown and the lack of control-not simply because there’s so much uncertainty and contradictory information, but mainly because SARS is a public safety and community health matter. Much of the unknown depends on the behavior and ethics of other people. People are the key to curbing the spread. I just don’t trust that people in Taiwan are properly safeguarding themselves not only for their own sake, but for the sake of others. And from what I’ve seen so far- I really wonder about Taiwanese people’s sense of social responsibility. There have been many cases of people either diagnosed with SARS or SARS-like symptoms who have been ordered to undergo home quarantine, only to disobey by traveling to another part of Taiwan, to continue working, to show up for a class or examination, and the list goes on… How safe can we feel or how much can we trust the general public if we can’t even trust health care professionals to make appropriate decisions? An ear, nose, throat doctor returned to his private practice disobeying orders to quarantine all Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital employees. The only thing I can say in this doctor’s defense is- we don’t really know the complete circumstances or reasons that compelled him to go back to his clinic to see patients.


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