A group of Academia Sinica members have signed a petition urging the Ministry of Justice to release former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from prison on medical parole.
Along with the petition signed by 21 members with a professional medical background, a statement yesterday asked the ministry to respect medical reports from the Tri-Service General hospitals in Greater Taichung and Taipei, that concurred in saying that Chen should receive care at home.
Liao Yun-fan (廖運範), a professor of medicine and former chief resident doctor at National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital, said a patient’s well-being is a doctor’s foremost consideration.
“There should be no political interference. We do not want to see anyone being abused on medical grounds,” Liao said.
The statement cited Chen’s diagnostic report from doctors in May, which said: “The patient should be looked after around the clock by a caregiver... Removing the patient from prison for recuperation and treatment at home can better improve his condition.”
Liao said an NTU Hospital neurologist who saw recent video footage of Chen said that the former president had uncontrollable shaking and difficulty swallowing, which may lead to asphyxiation. The neurologist added that if Chen is not treated soon, he is at high risk of sudden death.
“The ministry had earlier said that they would respect the diagnosis by Tri-Service General Hospital. However, they have not yet done so, which is very disappointing,” Liao said.
Chen Ding-shinn (陳定信), a hepatitis specialist and former head of the NTU College of Medicine, also urged the ministry to respect the diagnoses and for Chen to be released as quickly as possible.
He and Liao led the petition, which was signed by 21 of 31 members of Academia Sinica. Other signatories include former presidents of the National Health Research Institute, Wu Cheng-wen (吳成文) and Wu Kun-yu (伍焜玉).
In response, Chen Shui-bian’s office released a statement to thank Academia Sinica for the petition.
“Our office urges the government to follow its laws, respect the medical profession, conform to the protection of human rights and promptly release former president Chen for him to receive care at home,” the statement said.