Former Taiwan president Chen visits hospital for first time since release

Former Taiwan president Chen visits hospital for first time since release

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Former President Chen Shui-bian yesterday made his first trip to the hospital after he was released on medical parole on Monday, undergoing neurological and urological examinations.

Chen was seen leaving his family residence in Kaohsiung yesterday, taking a private car to Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.

Also included in the former president's medical visit was a meeting with a psychiatrist and a physiotherapist.

Later wheeled into the office of vice honorary hospital Chairman Chen Shun-sheng (no relation) by his son Chen Chi-chung, Chen Shui-bian refused to answer all reporters' questions from behind the face mask he was wearing. Chen's eyes looked empty and his right thumb trembled constantly.

Chen Shun-sheng, who was also one of the conveners of the former president's team of medical professionals, said after the meeting that Chen's trembling results from pathological changes in his brain.

Several days ago, Chen Shun-sheng and a fellow neurologist gave Chen a checkup at home and slated yesterday to be the first clinical inspection for the former president. "This means that his clinical treatment plan has officially begun," said the physician, who added that Chen's pathological brain damage had been diagnosed in jail.

"Chen is undoubtedly glad to be home with his family again, yet he has to adjust to a new environment. Just like his son mentioned previously, when Chen wakes up, his first reaction is to search for the two surveillance cameras that were in his jail cell," said Chen Shun-sheng.

Results of Examinations Remain Confidential

The many health checkups carried out yesterday lasted around three hours, with the hospital stating that the results will not be publicized but are to be used as a future reference to compare with Chen's condition when he was still in jail.

There will be another series of health examinations after a month, which will also be compared to yesterday's results.

Also a member of the former president's civilian medical team once led by now-Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, Chen Shun-sheng expressed a wish for the team to remain intact to gather more medical opinions regarding Chen's health.

"After some time, Ko will be heading south to visit Chen as well," said Chen Shun-sheng.

The announcement of Chen's release was made at a press conference on Jan. 5 by the Agency of Corrections.

According to Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang, the Corrections Agency's board of 10 directors has determined that the former president's condition had become increasingly serious after the evaluation of a medical team.

The deputy minister then explained that Chen has been suffering gradual nerve damage to his brain in addition to other medical conditions, and he has been released on a monthlong medical parole. Former President Chen Shui-bian yesterday made his first trip to the hospital after he was released on medical parole on Monday, undergoing neurological and urological examinations.

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