According to news reports, the Taipei Prison authority still intends to return former President Chen back to the prison to serve the remainder of his sentences. If these reports are true, it means that the prison authority still does not understand the severity of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Through the examination by several experts and precision instruments, it has been confirmed that President Chen suffers Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). MDD is a brain disease, not just a manifestation of psychological conflict. Through repeated Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examinations at Taoyuan Municipal Hospital and Taipei Veterans General Hospital, respectively, many unusual bright signals (hyperintensities) in the subcortical regions of President Chen’s brain were found. These pathological changes in the brain of President Chen indicate that there had been decreased local vascular blood flow, resulting in dilated perivascular spaces or neuron demyelination, contributing to the onset of his MDD. A person who suffers MDD could feel severe pain over the whole body in addition to a weakened immune response. At the peak of the symptom, the patient could feel that living is a fate worse than death. As a result, many patients with MDD committed suicide. For most people, the suffering of MDD patients is beyond their comprehension.
After examining President Chen in May this year, I pointed out that he was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but had never received treatments. PTSD often leads to MDD. When a person suffers major life changing events causing severe distress, one effective way to prevent the onset of these psychiatric illnesses is to relieve the stress through talk therapy by psychological counseling and physical exercise. President Chen, while in the detention center and later in Taipei Prison, was subjected to essentially solitary confinement in addition to twenty-four-hour surveillance under bright lights. His biological clock was thus destroyed, leading to the deterioration of his brain function. Namely, MDD became worse. However, Ministry of Justice not only denied my diagnosis of President Chen’s psychiatric illnesses but also refused to provide appropriate psychiatric treatments to him, such as drug therapy, psychotherapy or rehabilitation. Treating a former elected leader in such a degrading manner is nothing but inhuman.
President Chen was inflicted with MDD during his incarceration in Taipei Prison. His cognitive ability and emotion have suffered traumatic injuries due to this imprisonment. If he is forced back to any kind of prison environment, his symptom will deteriorate rapidly. I vehemently oppose returning President Chen to the prison. Taiwan is not a barbaric society, but a developed and civilized country. Anyone who is sick has the rights to receive proper medical treatments. President Chen must stay in an accredited hospital by Ministry of Health to continue his treatments.
** Translated by Prof. Jay Tu **