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Taiwanese ex-president's medical care lacking, says daughter

Publication Date : 23-04-2013


An irate Chen Hsing-yu  yesterday called her father's medical care at Taichung Prison “a big joke.”

She was speaking after visiting former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, who is currently serving the remainder of his 20-year sentence on bribery charges, at the prison's Pei-de Hospital, where he was transferred last Friday.

Chen Shui-bian told her that his appetite is diminishing, his tremors are worsening and that he cannot sleep under Taichung Prison's round-the-clock supervision, according to Taichung City Councilor Tseng Chao-jung, who joined Chen Hsing-yu yesterday.

He also said he misses his grandchildren and wants to see their pictures, Tseng told reporters after the meeting.

Before local media, an irate Chen Hsing-yu decried the hospital's monitoring detail, which comprises three caretakers who submit updates on the inmate every 15 minutes. “Are they supervising Chen or assisting the management of his medical conditions?” she said.

Chen Hsing-yu also criticised the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) for touting the hospital's real estate as a way to mask the inadequacy of her father's care.

Even though his condition requires the attention of both a psychiatrist and a neurologist, Pei-de Hospital has supplied only an orthopedic specialist since his transfer last Friday.

“Is that not a big joke in the international community? Where have Taiwan human rights gone?” she said.

For Chen Shui-bian, actual medical care is what's most important, and medical care is not “just about giving him a treadmill or 243 ping (803.30 square metres) of space,” she continued.

Last Friday, the Justice Ministry told local media that Chen Shui-bian's new facility is a step up from Taipei Prison, as it offers 243 ping of space, including a 9.2-ping cell with bookshelves, a spring mattress and a private anti-slip shower.

No meds: Lu

Former Vice President Annette Lu, who visited Chen Shui-bian shortly after the younger Chen, said that the patient has not received medication for his conditions in three days.

“He has not taken medication in three days,” she announced after visiting the former president around noon on Monday. “He told me, 'No one is concerned about me. Whose medicine would I take?'”

Lu stressed that the MOJ's implementation of Chen Shui-bian's transfer was “rash” and “politically motivated.”

Prior to the transfer, the MOJ should have requested that Taipei Veterans General Hospital brief a medical team to care for the patient at Taichung Prison, she said.

Some 20 Chen Shui-bian supporters met Lu at the prison entrance after her visit on Monday. Addressing the crowd, Lu said that “there is no need to stand outside,” as the patient's accommodations “can be considered comfortable, though the medical care situation is lacking.”

Last Friday, the MOJ surprised the opposition party by transferring Chen Shui-bian from Taipei Veterans General Hospital to a hospital ward within Taichung Prison.

According to the ministry, Chen does not qualify for medical parole, as his clinical depression and other conditions can be treated within available prison facilities.


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