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Home care an option for former President Chen: Veterans General

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taichung Veterans General Hospital (TVGH, 台中榮總) has listed home care as one of the options for treating former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for his illness, a hospital representative said yesterday.

However, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) still has to make an assessment and the final decision will have to be decided by the ministry, Lee San-kan (李三剛), superintendent of the TVGH, told lawmakers yesterday.

Lee made the comments during a meeting at the Legislature's National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday in response to questions raised by opposition lawmakers on the condition of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Citing a diagnosis given by the TVGH on the condition of the former national leader, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said Chen is diagnosed with several diseases including sleep apnea that developed over his past years in prison. He used to stop breathing a dozen times an hour every night, Tsai said.

Chen also suffered from urinary incontinence, serious depression as well as signs of neurological disorder, Tsai added.

Another DPP legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) asked Lee if home care would a better treatment for Chen, and the TVGH head said he believes Chen's condition will definitely improve if the government approves the proposal to send him home to have caregivers look after him there rather than in the hospital.

Lee said his hospital has listed home care as one possible recommendation to the MOJ in treating Chen.

However, he stressed that the proposal is just one of the options the TVGH has suggested to the government. The hospital reports their medical evaluation of Chen's condition to the MOJ every three months.

The MOJ has the final say on whether Chen should remain in the prison or be sent back home for treatment, Lee said.

Chen's Condition

Chen, who is serving a 20-year prison term for corruption, has been serving his time at Taichung Prison's Pei Teh Hospital (台中監獄培德醫院), where a special medical zone has been set up for him since April 2013.

The 63-year-old former president has been diagnosed with various ailments, among them severe depression, sleep apnea, non-typical Parkinson's disease, a speech disorder and mild cerebral atrophy. He also tried to commit suicide in June 2013.

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