Hospital strike may have killed two, says Regina Ip - RTHK
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Hospital strike may have killed two, says Regina Ip

2020-02-19 HKT 18:25
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  • Reporters huddle together after undergoing temperature checks and hand-cleansing for a press conference by Regina Ip and the 'Anti Strike Alliance for Patients'. Photo: RTHK
    Reporters huddle together after undergoing temperature checks and hand-cleansing for a press conference by Regina Ip and the 'Anti Strike Alliance for Patients'. Photo: RTHK
Executive councillor and lawmaker Regina Ip on Wednesday reeled off a list of alleged examples of how a recent hospital workers' strike had caused patients to suffer, saying the deaths of two people may even have been due to the industrial action.

Hundreds of doctors, nurses, and hospital assistants walked out for five days from February 3, as part of a failed attempt to force the government to fully seal the border to mainland arrivals due to the coronavirus outbreak. They also complained that they did not have sufficient equipment to protect themselves from the virus while they look after patients.

Last week, Ip said she wanted to help people sue the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance, which organised the strike, if their health had suffered due to the action,

Ip had urged people to let her know of any incidents that arose during the strike, and on Wednesday she said she had been informed of 23 cases where a patient's treatment had been delayed.

"There are four involving cancer patients who needed MRI or radiology treatment, four cases involving tumours, and four cases of retinal tears or cataract surgery," she said.

"There are two cases in which the patient unfortunately passed away, allegedly [according to their] families, because of inadequate manpower at the hospitals during the strike period."

Ip made the announcement at a press conference alongside members of the new "Anti Strike Alliance for Patients".

Reporters covering the event were made to sanitise their hands and have their temperatures checked, before they had to cram together inside the crowded briefing venue in Fortress Hill.

A woman at the press conference declared that the strike had claimed the life of her father. She said he died on February 11, four days after workers ended their walkout.

But when reporters asked for more details, the woman and others with her were ushered away. The alliance later explained that the families of the "victims" were not ready to speak to the media due to privacy issues.

Ip said most of those who had got in touch with her had indicated that they are considering taking legal action over the strike.