Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is suffering from “severe” depression and requires psychiatric treatment, Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) said yesterday.
Chen, serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison term on corruption charges, was treated at Taoyuan General Hospital last month after he developed urinary problems and was later transferred to Taipei Veterans for a comprehensive check-up, authorities said.
“Chen was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety disorder, both of which have become chronic,” Veterans said in a statement, without elaborating.
It recommended further treatment at a specialized hospital.
Chen has also developed a stutter, which might be linked to mental illness or a degeneration of his brain, as well as problems with his prostate and sleep apnea — a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal breathing — the hospital said.
Chen sought medical parole earlier this year when he was diagnosed with a narrowing of his coronary arteries, but the Ministry of Justice denied it on the ground that he could get proper treatment in prison.
TVGH said it would hold a press conference today and brief the public on how Chen’s condition has progressed since he was admitted on Sept. 21.
At that time, hospital vice superintendent Chen Tain-hsiung (陳天雄) said a team comprised of at least 10 urologists, neurologists and psychiatrists had been assembled to examine the former president using non-invasive methods such as MRI scans and ultrasound scans.
Chen and family members were accused in a complex network of cases of sending political donations and secret diplomatic funds abroad, money laundering and taking kickbacks on government contracts.
Chen has said that the legal action against him is a political vendetta carried out by the Beijing-friendly government in retaliation for his policies promoting Taiwan’s independence while in power.
Additional reporting by staff writer