Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) collapsed for the fourth time since being incarcerated, prompting concerns over his deteriorating health, Chen’s all-volunteer medical group said yesterday
Kuo Cheng-deng (郭正典), one of the doctors in the group, said Chen had been about to answer a call of nature at about 7:30pm when — as happened in the previous incidents — he lost his balance and fell onto a sofa close to his bed, hitting his head on a cell wall in the process.
Chen’s aides helped him up and brought him to the bed to rest, Kuo said, adding that the former president lost the urge to visit the restroom for several hours after the fall.
Kuo said that Chen told him it had not been so much a serious fall as a stumble, but that he had felt sick and experienced a tightness in his chest, though he had not fainted.
Kuo added that Chen’s daughter, Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), and her husband, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), had visited A-bian on Sunday.
During the visit, Chao, a doctor, diagnosed the former president with a fracture in the last vertebra of his coccyx, strain injuries in the muscles near both of his shoulder joints and contusions below his left knee, which were sustained in his third fall on Feb. 28.
Chen Shui-bian first fell down in prison on Jan. 13, injuring some muscles in his right shoulder.
Chao has a degree in orthopedic surgery and did his residency at National Taiwan University Hospital from 1998 to 2003.
Kuo said that Chao planned to visit the former president again on Sunday to try and ameliorate his physical pain.
Kuo said that despite the injuries, Chen Shui-bian remained in good spirits, cracking jokes as he watched the World Baseball Classic match between Taiwan and Cuba — which the home team lost 0-14 — saying that 014 represented former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) so it was no wonder Taiwan had lost.
Lin, who was secretary-general under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), is charged with taking NT$63 million (US$2.11 million) in bribes from Ti Yung Co owner Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) to help the latter’s company secure a slag treatment contract from a China Steel Corp subsidiary in July last year.