Chang Chung-hsiung (張忠雄), the 68-year-old who was hit by a police car last month after taking part in an anti-government protest rally in Taipei, has been declared to be in a vegetative state despite undergoing intense medical treatment at National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) for more than a month.
Chang suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage, pneumothorax (air or gas in the pleural cavity) and comminuted bone fractures (fractures where the bone is broken, splintered or crushed into a number of pieces), NTUH intense care unit chief Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Saturday.
Ko added that Chang’s vital signs had stabilized after he underwent a brain operation and an amputation but he remained unconscious.
Chang and 67 year-old Hsu Jen-shan (徐仁山) — both from Bade (八德), Taoyuan County — were run over by a police car and seriously injured as they were preparing to get on a bus to go home after participating in the rally sponsored by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on May 17.
The two were rushed to the nearby NTUH.
Hsu was able to leave the hospital after a few days.
Chang’s older brother said Chang’s three children have been taking turns to care for their father. He said the family had not given up hope for Chang and were praying for his recovery.
At the moment, the negotiation process for compensation between the Changs and Taipei City’s Zhongzheng First Precinct — which employed the officer who drove the car — has been halted. The only consensus they have reached so far is that the injured are entitled to insurance payments and that the police will help the Changs file a request for national compensation.
Medical expenses are the biggest challenge for the Zhongzheng First Precinct at the moment, sources said. The lodging cost for Chang’s caregiver and the cost of his stay in the intensive care unit have been paid for by the police with money from the Friends of Police Association.
However, the organization has spent the entire year’s budget to cover the costs and has no more money.
Precinct chief Chen Ming-cheng (陳銘政) has spent NT$59,000 (US$1,790) out of his own pocket to help pay for part of the medical expenses. The precinct office now pays NT$2,000 per day for the sickroom, and another NT$2,000 for the caregiver.
So far, the city government and the Municipal Police Department are yet to give any financial help to the precinct office.
DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said yesterday that Taipei prosecutors had twice interviewed Taipei police officer Lin Chien-chih (林建智), who was driving the vehicle that hit Chang. The last time he was interviewed was on Tuesday.
Cheng said the DPP believes Lin may be guilty of negligence as stipulated in the Criminal Code and had asked prosecutors to indict Lin soon as possible.
Cheng added that the families of the two victims have accepted lawyers the DPP offered to them, who will represent the victims in a lawsuit against Taipei City Government for compensation.
The DPP would continue to help the two victims and their families, Cheng said. He did not elaborate.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG