TAIPEI, Taiwan - Members of Academia Sinica yesterday released a petition, urging better medical care for imprisoned former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
In response, staff members of the former president's office released a statement thanking the academics.
The petition, however, does not reflect the official position of Academia Sinica. The initiator of the petition, Yun-fan Liaw (廖運範), explained that the petition was undersigned by academics in their capacity as experts on medicine and public health.
A patient's human rights take precedence over politics, Liaw said.
The Taichung Veterans General Hospital's diagnosis states that "the patient should receive full-day care ... refrain from attending court ... leave the current environment in which he is imprisoned and be allowed to recuperate at home or other viable methods that will improve his condition more effectively," Liaw added.
Physicians attach the greatest importance to expertise, and no one should intervene in the treatment of a patient on any basis other than a medical one, Liao said, urging the relevant authorities to "change the way" the former president is currently being cared for, explaining that the change doesn't necessarily have to involve medical parole, and home care can be considered as an option.
"Regardless of what he did in the past, he is still a person," academician Ding-shinn Chen (陳定信) said.
The petition was undersigned by 21 academics. There are currently 258 at Academia Sinica.
The former president's office said that several evaluations have all reached the same conclusion, namely that Chen's health condition is worsening and that the only way to improve his condition would be for him to leave the prison and receive health care at home.