Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was yesterday transferred to Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) from Taoyuan General Hospital for further check-ups and treatments. The transfer to the TVGH was met with objections by Chen’s family, who said the hospital was “politically affiliated” with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), his son, said the family would prefer that the former president be taken to Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei or to a hospital in southern Taiwan.
Chen Shui-bian, who arrived at the TVGH at 7:30am yesterday, refused to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test that the TVGH has arranged for him.
Chen Shui-bian later agreed to take the medical tests only after being comforted by TVGH physician Kuo Cheng-deng (郭正典) — who, at the request of the Chen family, has previously visited the former president at the Taoyuan General Hospital to examine his condition — in which Kuo said he would accompany the former president during the whole medical process.
Chen Tain-hsiung (陳天雄), TVGH’s vice superintendent, said the hospital has assigned a team comprising at least 10 urologists, neurologists and psychiatrists to examine the former president.
The examination would focus on his brain, cerebrovascular system and urinary tract using non-invasive methods such as MRI scans and ultrasounds, Chen Tain-hsiung said.
The former president, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, was admitted to Taoyuan General Hospital on Sept. 12 after complaining of having difficulty urinating.
An MRI conducted at the Taoyuan hospital showed he had had a minor stroke.
Based on a recommendation by the Taoyuan General Hospital, the Ministry of Justice decided to transfer him to a different medical center for further examination.
Separately yesterday, human rights activists Hans Wahl and Harreld Dinkins, who arrived in Taipei to access the state of Chen Shui-bian’s human rights, held a press conference before leaving the country.
Dinkins said he was shocked by Chen’s slurred and unfocused speech and the unusual level of fatigue he showed during their 20–minute-long exchanges.
They also expressed concern over the selection of the TVGH because they had doubts over the facility’s independence given that it is a military hospital. In response to the Chen’s objections, Taipei Prison said in a statement yesterday that the TVGH has no political affiliation, adding that the hospital was selected mainly because it has advanced equipment and services, pointing out that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) has also been treated at the hospital.