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TMU publishes comic book to explain hospital procedures

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In an effort to relax strained patient-doctor relations in Taiwan, Taipei Medical University (TMU) published the country's first comic book explaining proper medical procedures in hospitals.

Relations between medical professionals and the public have been strained in recent years. Statistics show that criminal litigation is filed against an average of 36.7 doctors in Taiwan per year. As a result, many doctors have adopted “defensive” approaches in treating their patients, instead of actively providing quality medical services, TMU said, adding that this benefits neither medical professionals nor patients.

TMU's “Complete Record of Doctor-Patient Interaction” (醫病互動全紀錄) looks at a number of issues that often lead to disputes and resentment in clinical settings.

The comic book collects 60 instances of patients' interactions with medical professionals. Each instance is illustrated with four pictures. The book's simple illustrations aim to answer hospital visit-related questions in an easy-to-understand manner.

The book covers topics such as medical staff and patient communication, normal procedures in hospitals, patient privacy protection, providing quality medical services.

A first batch of 8,000 copies will be printed and distributed to the Taiwan Hospital Association, Taiwan Medical Association and Taiwan Dental Association, allowing the public to grab free copies more easily.

TMU Chairman Lee Tsu-der (李祖德) said that he hopes the book can serve provide a communication platform between doctors and patients. Lee stressed that proper communication and attentive listening are keys to relaxing the strained relations between patients and medical professionals, and that the book will help initiate the relation-improvement process.

To therefore other hospitals or medical organizations to print and distribute the comic book without copyright charges. TMU also plans to print the book in six different languages in the future, so that foreigners in Taiwan may also better understand medical procedures in Taiwan.

TMU President Yen Yun (閻雲) said that publishing the book is only the first step, and expects improved versions or series to be published in the future. Animated versions may also be provided down the road, he said.

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From right, Taipei Medical University (TMU) President Yen Yun, TMU Chairman Lee Tsu-der, Taiwan Hospital Association Vice Director Kuo Shou-Jen, Taiwan Medical Association Managing Director Hsiao Chih-wen and Taiwan Dental Association Chairman Liu Chun-yen pose yesterday at the launch of a comic book. (Courtesy of Taipei Medical University)

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