The Taichung Prison hospital failed to provide the necessary medical care to imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) before or after he attempted suicide on Sunday, lawmakers and Chen’s private medical team said yesterday.
The prison hospital did not send a physician to examine Chen until an hour after he was discovered trying to hang himself and the physician “was not aware of what had been going on,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a news conference.
The Taichung Veterans General Hospital, which is in charge of Chen Sui-bian’s medical treatment, had ignored the advice of Chou Yuan-hua (周元華), the former president’s previous doctor at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, who emphasized that putting him on suicide watch was of the utmost priority.
The former president, who is serving a 20-year jail sentence for corruption, was distraught that the spending of public funds in hostess bars may soon be allowed, while the courts had found his use of such funds for diplomatic projects to have been a criminal offense, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Chen Shui-bian was apparently referring to former independent legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), who could be exonerated for his misuse of public funds at hostess bars during his term as Taichung County Council speaker and released from jail once an amendment to the Accounting Act (會計法) is promulgated.
The prison has not been providing Chen Shui-bian, who has been diagnosed with multiple ailments, including severe depression, with any medical treatment other than two sleeping pills a day, said Janice Chen (陳昭姿), spokesperson of Chen Shui-bian’s medical team.
Mackay Memorial Hospital psychiatrist Chen Chiao-chi (陳喬琪) has warned of Chen Shui-bian’s suicidal tendencies, adding that he appeared to see death as his final resort to prove his innocence.