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Chen Shui-bian's hospital to urge discharge

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Veterans General Hospital (台北榮民總醫院) is expected to recommend the patient discharge of former President Chen Shui-bian on Wednesday.

Chen, who is serving a 20-year sentence for graft and related charges, was transferred to a government hospital last September to receive treatment for cardiopulmonary disease, clinical depression and other disorders.

This Wednesday, hospital authorities will update the Ministry of Justice (MOJ, 法務部) on Chen's condition and recommend patient discharge, according to attending physician Chou Yuan-hwa (周元華).

Chou, a psychiatrist and member of Chen's medical team, said the report is some 10 pages detailing the former president's recent symptoms and overall condition. To protect patient confidentiality, the report will be submitted exclusively to the MOJ on Wednesday, April 3.

The report urges patient discharge but does not advocate either medical parole or a return to Taipei Prison for treatment, he continued.

“The medical team will recommend what is best for the patient, but Chen Shui-bian's case is bound up with medical, legal and political issues,” said Chou, who emphasized that the final say on medical parole belongs with the MOJ.

Chou will be accepting questions on his patient today at the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee, at the invitation of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus.

Forty DPP lawmakers have endorsed a petition for medical parole to be mailed directly to the Presidential Office. The petition is joining 300,000 letters mailed from across Taiwan, said the former president's son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) last Saturday.

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