PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 12:00am

Blame the 'not my department' mentality in HK

I refer to the reports ('Hospital backs staff who said: 'Dial 999',' December 22, and 'Officials apologise for Caritas death', December 23).

I wish to refer specifically to the comment by medical sector legislator Leung Ka-lau who said, 'People should not think falling ill near a hospital will be treated differently. You will be treated the same if you suddenly fall ill in other public places.'

My wife is a haemodialysis patient at a hospital that I prefer not to name. I collect her after every dialysis exchange as she is frequently tired and occasionally disorientated after her treatment. Some months ago the following incident took place. As I was waiting outside the ward an older gentleman came out and walked unsteadily down the corridor.

He was obviously disorientated. He walked into another ward, realised he had made a mistake and walked back along the corridor.

Suddenly he collapsed and I ran to help him. When I discovered he was unconscious I ran to the dialysis ward desk, but there was no one there. I then ran to the adjoining ward where a male and female nurse were on duty. I told them a man had collapsed in the corridor. They followed me out into the corridor where the male nurse checked the man's hospital tag. He then looked up at the other nurse and said: 'It's all right he's not one of ours.'

The man was then placed on a gurney and returned to the dialysis ward, where he was treated. That comment from the nurse sums up the attitude of the Caritas staff and that of Leung Ka-lau.

It can only be assumed that Mr Leung has medical insurance and is confident that neither he nor any member of his family will ever find themselves at the mercy of a government hospital.

The apology by the Hospital Authority notwithstanding, the attitude of the staff member concerned is prevalent among us. How many times has the general public been confronted with: 'It is not my responsibility/my shift has ended/there is nothing in the guidelines to cover this, you'll have to speak to my boss/it is someone else's job'?

While the apology from the authority at least indicates that it is aware of the problem, it does not absolve the hospital from the moral responsibility for this man's death.

Stewart Sloan, Sha Tin

Faith lost in public hospitals

I was saddened to hear about the death of a man at the doorstep of the Caritas Medical Centre on Saturday. What completely baffles my mind is the moronic response by hospital staff.

Additionally, placing the blame solely on the receptionist and a less than heartfelt apology from management is so typical of Hong Kong. The medical centre's chief executive, Ma Hok-cheung, should take full responsibility.

This just adds to my lack of confidence in Hong Kong's public hospitals. They seem to make many mistakes and all we get is an apology now and then. I wish the Hospital Authority could be a bit more proactive and not just reactive.

Craig Gibson, Sha Tin

True spirit of Christmas

Are we celebrating the noble birth of a humble man in a barn this Christmas in Hong Kong? Far from it; in fact none of the pomp and partying that goes on in the city at this time of the year has even a semblance of religious significance.

We have lost Jesus in our mindset. Simple living and high thinking were virtues he taught by living a life of austerity and service to the poor. It is a pity that arrogance, pomposity and alcoholism are taken as a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Saying Merry Christmas with a whisky in your hand is hypocritical at a time when so many are dying in poverty.

Charity events organised during this season are just an excuse for indulgence, with people spending a lot more in revelry than they donate to the good cause. People should celebrate Christmas in the company of Christ by acting the way he preached.

We should spend Christmas in God's presence by serving the poor. Words of prayer should be followed by acts of loving charity.

Anna Naidu, Mid-Levels

Austere times curb gaudiness

The Christmas decorations at Statue Square this year are at least less insipid and nauseous than the past - the tree is even sedately elegant.

Perhaps the financial tsunami had forced the hands of the decorators from spending on superfluous and ghastly dangling bits. Whatever the reason, there is obviously a marked improvement and this is no bad thing.

Sir David Tang, Central

Strike balance between causes

The debate over wall-effect projects has confirmed my view that Hong Kong needs mature political leaders to lead us into the future amidst the current economic storm and the competition we face from neighbouring cities.

The government is right to point out that it needs to balance the suggestions of residents and developers. Elected legislators and other politicians should not blindly lead and avoid giving residents false hopes in their fight against developers.

If they are really concerned about Hong Kong's future, they should strike a balance among various interests.

Residents and developers have all contributed to our existing success. Young and upcoming politicians need to learn to look at issues from a wider perspective and lead us through the storms. Picking just at one developer purposely or by convenience for better media exposure while neglecting the bigger picture or other major development issues, is not doing Hong Kong any good.

John Cheng, Wan Chai

Still best way to say you care

I refer to your editorial ('Christmas cards bring out our caring, creative side', December 21). In this fast-changing and technological world, more people prefer to send e-mails and text messages rather than the Christmas card, as a result of the convenience.

Yet, I still believe that the sending of Christmas cards is the best way to keep in touch with my relatives and friends at Christmas.

I am pleased to see that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's Christmas card combines tradition with colour and cheeriness. He shows his care for civil servants.

Christmas cards should not be replaced. These cards absolutely serve to brighten up our day during the economic downturn.

Charlie Chan Wing-tai, Sha Tin

Count blessings

When we feel like moaning about some aspect of our lives, we should think about events in other parts of the world and realise how lucky we are.

For example, think of the victims of the Mumbai terrorist attack last month and the fact that people in India fear they are still at risk.

Living in Hong Kong, we should not be indifferent to what is happening elsewhere in the world. Globalisation has meant that things that happen around the world are interrelated, such as the financial tsunami. Disasters often come without warning.

Instead of taking what we have for granted, we should see what we possess as gifts from God.

Whatever advantages we enjoy, we should utilise them wisely.

Heidi Siu, Sha Tin