Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) suffers from sleep apnea — a disorder in which breathing completely stops or is intermittent for periods of about 10 to 30 seconds — and paranoid delusions of being persecuted, Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) Superintendent Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁) said yesterday.
The imprisoned former president, who is serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption, has been in the hospital since Sept. 21 for further examination.
The TVGH is a subordinate of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Lin was requested by lawmakers to present a report at a legislative Foreign and National Defense Committee meeting yesterday.
In response to a question by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) on whether Chen is suffering from sleep apnea and delusions of being persecuted, Lin said: “He has both.”
Lin added that the former president has recovered from a urinary tract infection and a slight fever.
“Do you know his current weight?” Chiu asked.
In response, Lin said Chen has lost 10 kilograms since being in prison, adding that the hospital hoped that better food provided by Chen’s family would improve his weight.
“As a medical expert, do you think Chen should be granted medical parole?” Chiu asked, to which Lin responded that medical parole could not be decided by doctors.
Lin added that a complete assessment of Chen’s health would be released in seven to 10 days.
The TVGH medical team will today also conduct a special report on Chen’s condition, at the invitation of the legislative Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
“All we know is that Chen’s health is deteriorating. It’s unfortunate that the hospital has failed to provide a clear report on the former president’s health despite it being an issue of public concern that has provoked much speculation,” Lin said.
Lin said the DPP is still calling for Chen to get medical parole.
Chen’s family have complained about not being updated on the former president’s health.