Traffic chaos puts surgeries on hold

Local | Angel Kwan 15 Nov 2019

Surgeries are being postponed and fruits are at risk of being dumped due to the traffic disruption for the fourth consecutive day.

A woman surnamed Lai, who claims to be the wife of a doctor, said in a radio program that her husband could not reach the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital to perform surgeries and check on his patients.

Lai said her husband parked his car at Lok Fu after learning Junction Road was blocked. He walked to the hospital but protesters stopped him from passing, even after a hospital representative tried to explain the situation.

"Many doctors need to perform surgeries," Lai said. "Patients are waiting for them to save their lives."

Keith Fong Chun-yin, chairman of Hong Kong Baptist University's Student Union, responded in the same radio program that it is possible the protesters were unsure about the doctor's identity.

Hong Kong Baptist Hospital said 85 percent of surgeries on Wednesday were performed as scheduled, but some cases needed further arrangements as the patients could not be admitted. All cases at its clinic were treated.

The Hospital Authority has said some hospital and clinic services, including elective surgeries, may be affected due to traffic disruptions "as staff cannot report for duty on time."

It said that accident and emergency, as well as inpatient services at public hospitals, remain normal.

Patients who are unable to attend their scheduled consultation may call and reschedule their appointments.

The HA also urged drivers to avoid the roads inside hospital grounds as that may affect services such as emergency transfer of patients and medical supplies.

Meanwhile, prices of fruits have come down amid decreased consumption, said Cheng Chi-cheung, vice-chairman of the Kowloon Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Association.

"Fruits like strawberries and grapes have a shorter shelf life, perhaps only a few days. If they aren't sold before they are overripe, we would have to dump those."

He said the time for transporting fruits to retail locations has increased.

"The routes that originally take 30 minutes may now take more than two hours because many roads are blocked and trucks may need to park two or three streets away from where they unload," Cheng said.

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