Author: Prof. Chiao-Chicy Chen
Psychiatric Department, Taipei MaKay Memorial Hospital
Psychiatric Department, Taipei Medical School
After examining President Chen in June, 2012, I pointed out that he was suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but Ministry of Justice denied it categorically. In September, 2012, through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) at Taoyuan Municipal Hospital, many unusual bright signals (hyperintensities) in the subcortical regions of President Chen’s brain were found. In fear of a stroke, President Chen was transferred to Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) for additional examinations. At the time, based on his pathological symptoms and the MRI images, the possibility of stroke was eliminated but it was confirmed that President Chen suffered from Major Depression Disorder (MDD). In order to ensure the credibility of this diagnosis, TVGH invited ten renowned medical professors in psychiatry to conduct joint diagnosis and further examinations with higher precision instruments. From this effort, it has been confirmed, without doubt, that President Chen suffers from MDD.
"Depression" might be a phrase loosely used by common folks, but MDD is a brain disease, not just a manifestation of psychological conflict. Without proper treatments, one cannot recover from MDD and MDD can lead to dementia (loss of brain function). Through several Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examinations at Taoyuan Municipal Hospital and Taipei Veterans General Hospital, many unusual bright spots (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 and contributing to the onset of his MDD. A person who suffers from 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. Over the past two years, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Justice and the Taipei Prison authority have failed to provide proper medical treatments for former President Chen, resulting in his MDD to worsen and his brain functions to deteriorate rapidly.
There are many probable factors causing the MDD of President Chen, including the complexity of the litigation against him which is undoubtedly a very important pathogenic factor. For the Presidential Discretionary Fund case, for example, there are numerous flip-flops between guilty and innocence verdicts, enough to cause him to mentally crash many times over. In July last year (2012), once again, the High Court reversed the innocence verdict of the Presidential Discretionary Fund case, which was a great shock to him, resulting in his systolic blood pressure skyrocketing to more than 170 mmHg. This high blood pressure symptom could have been an important factor leading to his brain lesions. Without doubt, to anyone with a basic legal knowledge, all the charges against President Chen are highly complicated. However, one also has to recognize that, because of the incompleteness of the laws and the randomness of different verdicts by different courts at different levels, even President Chen, as one of the smartest law school students and the best attorneys in the country, after three years of fighting for his own innocence, is at a complete loss on how to proceed and is mentally and emotionally exhausted. To an intelligent person like him, this exhaustion is a vicious disease, making his living a fate worse than death.
It has been three months since President Chen was transferred to Taipei Veterans General Hospital. However, his emotional and cognitive functions have shown little improvement. At this moment, he is unable to think and focus on any thought. His movement is slow and he is showing obvious symptoms of victim paranoia. His autonomic nerve function is very fragile and his mental state is very unstable. Any signal or rumor of returning him back to Taipei Prison can cause him extreme stress, anger, paranoia and great fear.
President Chen is no longer capable of pursuing politics, forming a new party, or escaping out of the country. He is over 60-year-old. He did not commit treason and he is not anti-social. Continuing to imprison him in a prison carries no significance. He is a former democratically elected two-term president. It is time to let go and let him go home to recover from his illnesses.
(Note：Thanks to Prof. Jay Tu to tranlate this article into English. - Taiwan eNews)