Taiwan’s jailed ex-president suffering severe mental ailments: doctors

Chen Shui-bian suffers from brain shrinkage among many symptoms of worsening health – but pardon still seems unlikely

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 3:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 3:53pm

The health of imprisoned ex-Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian has continued to deteriorate, with new reports suggesting the former leader is suffering from severe brain shrinkage.

Chen is currently serving a 17-and-a-half-year sentence for corruption at a Taichung prison in central Taiwan.

However, following his incarceration five years ago, his health began to worsen and he is now said to be suffering from a variety of ailments, including depression, sleep apnea, a speech disorder and cerebral atrophy.

In June, Chen attempted to hang himself using a towel, but was stopped by prison security.

The health of the former president has worsened significantly in the past months, with scans showing a 17 per cent decrease in cognitive ability, Taipei Veterans General Hospital physician Kuo Cheng-deng told United Daily News on Sunday.

Chen now struggles with basic arithmetic and spent five minutes when asked to calculate 100 minus seven, Kuo said.

In the coming fortnight, Chen will undergo his third surgery since being admitted to prison in a bid to alleviate his sleep apnea, Kuo added.

The former president is also said to be incontinent, wetting himself eight to 12 times a day, said Ko Wen-je, director of National Taiwan University Hospital’s Department of Traumatology and a potential Taipei mayoral candidate.

Taiwan’s incumbent president, Ma Ying-jeou, has repeatedly rejected calls for Chen to be pardoned, saying the former leader is receiving proper care in prison.



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