The recent medical record exposure scandal took a dramatic turn when Democratic Progressive Party Lawmaker Peter Lin (林進興), expressed his remorse to Taichung City Mayor, Jason Hu (胡志強) and humbly begged for his forgiveness yesterday afternoon for revealing Hu's medical records last week in a bid to sway the three-in-one election results.
With tears in his eyes, Lin bowed down to Hu, a Kuomintang member and wished him good health and longevity and promised to attend Hu's 95th birthday party.
"If Mayor Hu refuses to accept my apology today, I wouldn't know how to live for the rest of my life," said Lin, who is also a physician. Lin adamantly denies any wrongdoings and claims he has scored "100 percent" on medical ethical standards tests over the past few days.
Prior to the election, 11 pan-green doctors held a press conference to discredit Hu's ability to run for a second term as mayor by revealing to the public that the mayor suffered serious health problems.
As the guest speaker, Lin brought a copy of Hu's medical history to substantiate the claims.
The disclosure, viewed as a smear tactic, fused a scathing controversy over a possible patient-doctor confidentiality violation by the doctors involved.
On December 7, the Medical Disciplinary Committee comprising a panel of doctors under the Taichung City Bureau of Health Promotion ruled that the doctors indeed broke the law and should be penalized.
Lin, seen as the leader of the pack, received the harshest punishment of a one-year license suspension, another doctor received a one-month suspension, the others were forced to attend lectures on medical ethics.
However, the group of defiant doctors argue that a photojournalist from a daily newspaper surreptitiously took a photo of the documents, unbeknown to them and publicized the papers on television.
The doctors are expected to file an appeal to exonerate themselves from any wrongdoing.
Lin stressed that his decision to ask Hu's pardon was purely out of personal initiative and not influenced by partisan issues.
Hu, apparently touched by Lin's sincerity, lauded Lin's courage to face up to his own offenses and asked him to stop blaming himself.
"Perhaps Lin acted under the direction of his party. After he realized his actions prompted severe public criticism he was willing to make amends of his mistakes," said Hu.
Hu also said he realized that emotions can get out of hands during the election season, adding that he will not fuss over the irrational accusations. Moreover, Hu said he believes that Lin's actions will ameliorate campaign strategies in future elections.
Although the apology was warmly received by Hu, Lin is facing possible retribution from his own party.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), the newly selected DPP chairperson, said Lin's actions were completely inappropriate. The DPP Central Standing Committee will deliberate on December 14 whether Lin should be reported to the Central Advisory Committee for disciplinary measures, said Lu.
Another DPP Lawmaker, Wang Shih-chien urged the 11 unrepentant doctors to admit their misconduct and refrain from further contestations of their innocence.