The two tumors that had been detected in former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) seminal vesicle earlier this year are nonmalignant blood clots, doctors said yesterday after Chen underwent a follow-up medical checkup, adding that they were trying to determine why a third clot had formed.
Chen was granted temporary release from prison so he could get a medical checkup at Chang Gung Hospital’s branch in Linkou District (林口), New Taipei City (新北市), yesterday morning. He was transported from Taipei Prison to the hospital at about 6am.
A group of the former president’s supporters were gathered outside the hospital to show their backing for Chen, shouting “A-bian is innocent” when they saw him arrive.
National Taiwan University Hospital’s Ko Wen-che (柯文哲), who was asked by Chen’s family to oversee the medical checkup, said a CT scan had shown that Chen’s cardiovascular system was somewhat clogged, but that the condition was not life-threatening.
Ko added that the three clots found in Chen’s seminal vesicle were not malignant. He said the former president was relieved to know that he did not have cancer.
However, doctors were still trying to determine why a third clot had developed so quickly after two were found during checkups last month.
Kuo Cheng-deng (郭正典), another doctor appointed by Chen’s family to perform the checkup, said Chen may have have been lying in a prone position while writing in his small cell for extended periods of time, which appeared to have damaged his knees.
Chen also suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease and his cholesterol reading is high, doctors said.
He underwent an angiogram at Taoyuan General Hospital in March after complaining of discomfort in his chest.
To resolve those problems, Kuo said, Chen needs a better living environment.
Chen was returned to the prison at 12:50pm.
The Ministry of Justice said Chen underwent an electrocardiogram, CT, MRI, echocardiogram and other checkups.
The former president’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), appealed to the authorities to grant his father leave from prison to receive further medical treatment.
Chen Chih-chung expressed the hope that his father’s health problems could finally be correctly diagnosed and properly treated because they have persisted for months, leaving the family very anxious.
Various groups in Taiwan and the US have called on the government to release the former president on humanitarian grounds, saying the conditions in prison are contributing to his failing health.
The Ministry of Justice maintains that Chen Shui-bian’s conditions are the same as those of other inmates.
Chen Shui-bian is serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison term on corruption charges.
Additional reporting by CNA and staff writer