President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has instructed the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to carefully monitor the health of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the ministry will arrange a mental health checkup during Chen’s next hospital visit, if he agrees, the Presidential Office said yesterday.
Amid concerns about Chen’s health and calls on Ma to order his release on medical parole, Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said yesterday that the weekly meeting between the Presidential Office, top Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) on Monday addressed the issue as Wang presented Chen’s medical reports, and that the ministry would arrange another medical checkup for Chen soon.
“Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) gave the former president’s medical reports to the ministry and asked the ministry to handle the issue immediately. The ministry will arrange another medical checkup for Chen and include an examination of his mental health if he asked for one,” Tseng said.
The former president is serving a 17-and-a-half year prison term for corruption. He has complained about physical ailments, including chest pains.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) recently cited Chen’s medical assessment report and said that the former president had developed post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and had reportedly attempted suicide at least three times as a result.
Hsu presented the medical assessment report to Wang during a meeting earlier this month and Wang brought the issue up on Monday during the weekly meeting of top officials at the Presidential Office.
Following the meeting, Ma instructed Tseng to contact Hsu and asked the ministry to handle Chen Shui-bian’s medical condition carefully.
Tseng said that Sean Chen gave the former president’s medical assessment reports to Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫), and that a hospital visit would be arranged for the former president soon.
Taipei Prison has dismissed Hsu’s concerns and said it has paid close attention to Chen Shui-bian’s health.
It had previously arranged for the former president to undergo checkups at Taoyuan General Hospital and Chang Gung Hospital’s branch in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Linkou District (林口), saying his ailments could be controlled by taking medicine and having follow-up appointments.
Tseng Yung-chuan said the ministry would assess the situation and decide which hospital it would send Chen to for a checkup.