Taiwan ex-President Chen Shui-bian to be operated for sleep apnea

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former President Chen Shui-bian will be operated on for sleep apnea at the Veterans General Hospital in Taipei on Friday morning, reports said.
Chen is serving an 18-and-a-half-year prison sentence on charges of corruption, but he has been staying in hospital since September 21, mainly to undergo psychiatric treatment for a severe depression.
Soon after his arrival, he was also tested for other health problems, which included sleep apnea, a condition where breathing almost completely stops for periods of about 10 to 30 seconds.
A nose and throat specialist would perform the operation at 7 a.m. Friday, the Veterans General Hospital announced Thursday. The surgery would last 40 minutes, and was generally considered as a minor operation, doctors said. Chen would reportedly need to rest for one or two weeks.
The authorities recently said there were no plans to remove the ex-president from the hospital and take him back to the Taipei Prison in Kueishan, Taoyuan County. Senior physicians have launched a campaign for medical parole for Chen which has found support both in Taiwan and overseas.
Figures ranging from Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin to former United States Congressman Tom Tancredo and Liberal International President Hans van Baalen have expressed their support for long-term outside treatment for Chen.
The government and the prison authorities have rejected the calls, saying Chen does not qualify for such parole. They have also denied that his restriction in prison to a small cell almost without any movement was the cause for his numerous ailments.