Ex-president is not an ‘invalid’: doctors

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The team of doctors treating imprisoned ex-President Chen Shui-bian yesterday dismissed claims that he has become an “invalid,” maintaining that the former leader is slowly recovering. Chen’s eligibility for medical parole has sparked a fresh debate after the highest government watchdog, the Control Yuan, released a report Friday with clips showing him stuttering, shaking and staggering during a medical check-up at Taipei’s Veterans General Hospital (VGH) last Sunday. “Ah Bian is already an invalid,” said Chen’s friend, Ko Wen-che — a doctor from National Taiwan University Hospital — urging the government to release the ex-president from prison.

Lin Fang-yu, head of VGH, dismissed Ko’s comments. He said Chen demonstrates symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, but doctors have yet to confirm the condition. He said he believes Chen will show improvements after treatment and “will not become an invalid.” But it is up to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to decide the next move after the medical treatment, said Lin. Chou Yuan-hua, a senior psychiatrist at VGH, said that since checking into the hospital last September, Chen has been receiving treatment and his condition is currently stable.

Chou said the video clips shown by the media failed to completely present the real condition. But Chou said VGH sent the prison authorities a report at the end of last year indicating that it will be “difficult” to let Chen return to prison at this stage. VGH suggested that Chen be allowed to go home as family support is an important element in treatment for his serious depression, Chou was cited by the United Evening News as saying.