Reported by TsoMing Wang & Shengwen Lee for CNEWS, Taipei
Incident in Le Méridien Taipei handled vastly differently from incident in Howard Prince Hotel Taichung
There was an electrical accident involving a boy in Howard Prince Hotel Taichung on ROC National Day. Staff accompanied the boy to hospital, apologized to his parents and accepted responsibility for the accident. On the other hand, Le Méridien Taipei has not apologized in the sudden death of an engineer over one year ago. The lawyer representing the hotel even said in cold-blooded manner, “The hotel does not have responsibility to save people.” Both being five-star hotels, the attitude and handling of incidents are quite different. Thus, it is important to choose hotels carefully!
In the morning of ROC National Day, an 8-year-old boy by the surname of Huang probably wanted to pick up a floating pad and had an electric shock after entering the swimming pool of Howard Prince Hotel Taichung. Equipment fault was suspected. The life guard also had electric shock when saving the boy, but managed to pull him from the pool despite the pain. Hotel staff dialled 119 to call the ambulance immediately. The boy had stiff lips with eyes rolled up, but regained consciousness after first aid. His heart rate was slight fast with no arrhythmia, and he sustained no obvious injury. He was admitted to Cheng Ching Hospital, Chung Kang Branch for observation.
The deputy manager of the hotel reception was on the scene of the accident and, later, at the hospital. The assistant manager of the hotel Public Relations Department told the media that the switch of the shower in the massage pool came loose and had electrical leakage. The boy touched the switch and was shocked. Subsequently, hotel staff accompanied him to hospital. He apologized to the boy’s parents and accepted all responsibilities including medical expenses. The hotel pool was closed for repairs and a thorough check, and the incident will be investigated further.
On the other hand, there was an incident at Le Méridien Taipei in July last year, in which an engineer died after a delay in medical treatment. An engineer by the surname of Wang felt “chest tightness and difficulty breathing” in the hotel swimming pool. He left the pool and phoned the hotel front desk to seek help. However, ambulance was not immediately called, and the life guard did not assist. Instead, a staff member without first-aid training thought Mr. Wang’s discomfort was due to him not having dinner. Sports drink and chocolate did not provide relief, and the staff member asked Mr. Wang to rest on a sofa in the second-floor corridor. Upon receiving Mr. Wang’s second phone call seeking help, staff accompanied him to blow dry his hair and get changed. Walking around possibly caused the condition to deteriorate.
Staff of Le Méridien Taipei ignored the guest’s situation, including “difficulty breathing, chest tightness, requiring medical attention”, and insisted not to call an ambulance. Mr. Wang did not receive timely medical care and missed the “golden hour” of treatment. Eventually, 40 minutes after first asking for help, he collapsed and died of myocardial infarction. Only after Mr. Wang collapsed that staff realized the situation was serious, but they still sought the direction of their superiors before calling the ambulance. They performed CPR, but it was all too late. When the ambulance arrived, Mr. Wang had no sign of life, and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Taipei Medical University Hospital. His family was only notified more than an hour after his death.
Mr. Wang died after delay in seeking medical attention, but Le Méridien Taipei has not even apologized more than one year after the incident, and did not send any representative to the funeral. His family was furious and sued nine hotel staff members for negligence causing death. In the first court hearing, the lawyer representing the hotel said, “The hotel does not have responsibility to save people.” The degree of cold-bloodedness is simply outrageous! Would you dare stay in a hotel which neglects the life and safety of its guests?
The ways of handling these two incidents in swimming pools of five-star hotels are vastly different. No one wants accidents to happen, but if they ever happen, the hotel’s training of staff in crisis management, the handling of emergencies and the attitude of staff all make a big difference in the safety of hotel guests. As seen in the two incidents, different handling results in totally different outcome. It is important to carefully choose hotels as people’s lives could be at stake. Besides the room rate and facilities, it is a good idea to do an internet search of news related to the hotel to check its track record, as nothing is more important than life.
Photo credit: CNEWS Press Kits
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