A medical team for former President Chen Shui-Bian was formed on April 17, 2012 by a group of volunteers with different medical expertises. The core members include Prefessor Wen-Je Ko, MD, Professor CD Kuo, MD, Ph.D., Professor Chiao-Chicy Chen, MD, Ph.D., Dr. Chang-Feng Kuo, MD, Dr. Yeh-Shen Chang, MD, Ms. Janice Chen, Pharmacist, and Bryan Chen, son of President Chen, representing the family.
Each member is a full time medical professional (see their positions and employers below). The team meet at least once a week, usually Tuesday evening, to discuss the medical condition of President Chen. In addition, the team members conduct discussions through emails regularly. When President Chen was sent to Tao-Yuan General Hospital in March this year and to Cheng Gung Memorial Hospital in May, some team members were present to help communicating with the hospital staff to reassure President Chen and his family.
目前為止，我們已經二度各派兩位成員進入北監為總統看診，但是過程並不順利。第一次我們申請三位醫師會診，可是北監在收了三份醫師證書影本後，卻只允許一位進入，後來再經協商，才又答應增加一位。5月9日柯教授郭教授進入探視總統約兩小時，獲得相當資料，但卻不能正式寫入病歷，北監對外也不承認是看診，而說是特見 (special visit)。這過程，得到呂副總統和與柯建銘總召的幫忙。
So far, the team were able to enter the prison to examine President Chen twice, each time with two members. However, it had not been easy. The first time was on May 9th when we requested to see him with three doctors. The prison authority, after examining the submitted medical licenses, would only allow one doctor. After some negotiation, a second doctor was allowed to join in. At the end, Dr. Wen-Je Ko and Dr. CD Kuo were able to examine President Chen inside the prison for about two hours to gain first hand knowledge of his illness. However, the prison authority forbade both doctors to enter their diagnoses into a medical record and announced to the public that both doctors were merely visiting President Chen as friends in the format of a “special visit”. This “special visit” was made possible through the effort of former Vice President Annette Lu and congress minority leader Chien Ming Ko. Without the “special visit”, both doctors could only see President Chen through a glass panel and talk to him by phone.
It was not until May 31st that our team members, Dr. Wen-Je Ko and Dr. Chiao-Chicy Chen, were able to see President Chen inside the prison for the second time. On the day of the second visit, the prison director scolded Dr. Ko for releasing President Chen’s illness to the public. The director threatened to ban Dr. Ko from visiting President Chen but changed his mind citing a favor to minority leader Ko. However, such a favor did not come without a punishment. The examination time was shortened to 30 minutes and, sure enough, the prison authority again denied both doctors were conducting medical examination.
In between two prison visits by the team, President Chen was sent to Cheng Gung Hospital for a follow-up checkup on May 23rd. The family of President Chen, concerning that the prison authority might deliberately cover up his illness, insisted that some team members accompany President Chen during the hospital stay. The prison authority in turn demanded the team members to sign a gag order, promising not to release any diagnosis results. The examination was limited to six hours by the prison authority, not enough to go through all the necessary diagnoses.
From all these incidents, we are frustrated with the deliberate obstructions the prison authority threw at us. We need to go through the tedious application process for each of our requests in order to see President Chen. Even so, we had no clue when it would be approved and what restrictions the prison authority would impose. As a result, we are not able to provide proper care for President Chen, nor can we review his condition on a timely basis. On the other hand, President Chen, trapped in his small cell, became anxious and wondered why he could not be sent to a hospital that he trusts to treat his various ailments. He did not know how much trouble we have to go through in order to get him any form of medical care. The only solution, in our opinion, is to request the prison authority to release President Chen to our care.
The question is how we can accomplish this goal. We proposed our solution to the prison authority. After a long delay, they came back with two forms for the team. After going through the forms, we realized that we cannot even complete the forms. One form specifically requires that the team to pledge that the diagnosis results cannot be used to request a better imprisonment condition for President Chen, not to mention as a ground for hospital stay or even medical parole. The second form is even worse. Basically, the second form can only be completed if the prison authority sends former requests to the employers of the medical team members to verify if the employers consent to the participation of the members. If the prison authority never sends the request, we can never complete the form.
As a result, we are facing real problems to provide proper care for President Chen. We don’t know when we can see President Chen, nor can we follow up with our prescriptions and his responses to the treatments. The prison authority dictates when, who, and how many can be allowed to see President Chen via the “special visit”, and we need to go through the tedious application process every single time. Because the “special visit” is limited to once per week and it must be arranged by a congressional legislator, we need to get in the queue and wait for our turn. The restriction we are facing is not acceptable for treating a patient with a frail condition such as President Chen.
On June 21st, the medical team visited newly elected DPP Chairman, Chan-Chung Su, to inform him about the deliberate obstructions thrown at us. We sincerely hope that Chairman Su, as the leader of the largest opposition party in Taiwan, can help us resolve these problems.
Janice Chen, Team Speaker
Wen-Je Ko, MD, Senior Staff, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Department of Surgery; Chairman, Department of Traumatology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Cheng-Deng Kuo, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator and Director, Division of Medical Research, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; and Professor, Institute of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Chang-Feng Kuo, MD, Vice Superintendent, Taipei Hospital, Department of Health, Taipei, Taiwan
Chiao-Chicy Chen, MD, PhD, Professor and Staff Psychiatrist, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
Janice Chen, Pharmacist, Former Chairperson of Taiwan Society North, Taiwan
Yeh-Shen Chang, MD, Family Physician, Former Chairperson of Taiwan Society Hakka, Taiwan
( Note：It was thanks to Prof. Jay Tu to tranlate this article into English. - Taiwan eNews)