Taoyuan General Hospital said Saturday that it had not received a request from Taipei Prison to treat jailed former President Chen Shui-bian for possible health problems, one day after Chen was granted temporary leave to undergo health checks.
The government-run hospital, which is close to the prison where Chen is serving time for corruption, said it had only been informed by the media that Chen would seek medical treatment at the hospital.
The Ministry of Justice decided on Friday to allow Chen leave from prison under guard for medical attention, after it considered the request made by Chen’s family and the views of physicians.
The decision came after Chen applied for a checkup last month for a gastrointestinal disorder, with test results showing Chen to be generally well but not ruling out the possibility of colon cancer.
Taipei Prison said it would schedule Chen’s treatment for next week at the earliest, without detailing the exact date and time.
Chen Chih-chung, the former president’s son, also said he had not been informed of the treatment, calling on ministry and prison authorities to make the arrangements soon.
Noting that the ex-president had heart and liver problems and that his family had a history of liver cancer, Chen Chih-chung called on the authorities to be fair and not cause any delay that might put his father’s health at risk.
The family is also planning to apply to have Chen relocated closer to his family in southern Taiwan, the son said, because Chen’s mother is in her 80s, and former first lady Wu Shu-jen is a wheelchair user.
A spokesman for the ministry’s Agency of Corrections confirmed Friday that inmates could apply to be relocated to prisons closer to their families, but because Chen was still embroiled in other cases, he “is not eligible under the relocation regulations.”
Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu, the newly appointed Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP’s) acting chairwoman, said the ministry’s decision was commendable from a humanitarian perspective.
The former president is serving a sentence of 17.5 years for money laundering and misuse of public funds during his eight years in office from 2000-2008.