The board of directors 'regrets the oversight' of a delay in reporting Sars cases A day after being admonished by the director of health for its slow response to the Sars outbreak, the private Baptist Hospital announced yesterday it had sacked its chief executive. In an advertisement placed in the South China Morning Post today, the hospital says its chief executive, Tsang Chin-wah, 'had been relieved of his duties since May 26'. He has been replaced by Joseph Lee Chuen-kwun, a pathologist at the hospital who is a former dean of medicine at the Chinese University. The hospital has been the focus of controversy for several weeks, as health authorities demanded a review of how it had failed to promptly notify the public and patients of a Sars outbreak at the hospital in April. Director of Health Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun said on Monday that the hospital had 'failed to take patients' rights seriously'. Dr Chan warned the hospital to report all cases in future, pointing out that its licence was up for renewal at the end of the year. Thirteen patients and medical workers were infected at the hospital before being transferred to Yan Chai Hospital. One patient died. The wife of the dead patient is to seek legal aid tomorrow to sue the hospital. Democrat legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said yesterday he would help her to discuss details of bringing the hospital to court for failing to report the 'real situation' to the health department and the failure to inform the patient's family of his illness, which they claimed had resulted in his death. In its statement, the hospital's board of directors said yesterday it regretted the 'oversight' that led to its delay of reporting the cases. 'The hospital had no intention of holding back information on patients with Sars. During their transfer to the public hospitals for unexplained fevers, we did not inform other patients on the same floor immediately until the disease was confirmed by the Department of Health,' it said. 'We regret this oversight, which caused unnecessary anxiety and distress to our patients.' The hospital said its infection control measures had been in place since 1996. 'Our hospital staff and patients were unfortunately infected despite adequate measures for prevention.' Dr Chan asked the hospital more than a month ago for an explanation of its slow reporting of the outbreak. She followed up last week with an 'advisory letter,' prompting the hospital to submit another report last Tuesday. Kwok Ka-ki, a spokesman for the Action Group on Medical Policy, said this was a case of 'bad administration' at the hospital. He also asked why it took so long to look into the hospital's oversight. 'If you want to trace back the responsibility to the degree that Dr Chan did, not only Baptist Hospital should be condemned but a lot of [public] hospital chiefs,' he said. Legislator for the medical sector Lo Wing-lok said: 'The government must monitor the operation of this hospital to make sure it has improved to the extent required. Only if it is able to do so should the government renew its licence.'