Medical Treatment or Medical Parole:
What does Chen Shui-bian Want?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 3, 2013
Summary: Chou Yuan-hua, a Veterans General Hospital Special Medical Team member, told the Legislative Yuan that if Chen Shui-bian is returned to prison, the risk of suicide is high. Most members of the public feel that whoever requires medical parole should receive it. But they are afraid of being deceived, yet again, by Chen and his doctors.
Full text below:
Chou Yuan-hua, a Veterans General Hospital Special Medical Team member, told the Legislative Yuan that Chen Shui-bian should not be returned to Taipei Prison. He said Chen should be discharged from the hospital, and allowed to convalesce at home, or be transferred to a hospital closer to home, either a general hospital with a psychiatric department or a psychiatric hospital. When questioned by legislators, he said that if Chen Shui-bian is returned to prison, the risk of suicide is high.
This was the official report of the Special Medical Team to the Legislative Yuan. Naturally it carries a certain amount of weight. As a result, Chen Shui-bian's situation has once again attracted attention.
Chou Yuan-hua said Chen Shui-bian is suffering from severe depression and exhibits five other symptoms. Therefore, Chen Shui-bian should receive treatment. He said the public should not oppose this. The question however, is where Chen Shui-bian should be treated. Chou Yuan-hua contradicts himself. He said that, 1. Chen should not be returned to Taipei Prison. 2. Chen should be discharged. 3. Chen should perhaps be returned home to convalesce. 4. If Chen is returned to Taipei Prison, the risk of suicide is high. But Chen could also commit suicide at home. 6, Therefore, he added, perhaps Chen should be transferred to another hospital.
Basically Chou Yuan-hua talked in circles. What he said underscored a key concept. Just exactly what does Chen Shui-bian want? Medical treatment, or medical parole?
If what Chen wants is medical treatment, the Taipei Veterans General Hospital is recognized for its psychiatric expertise. This includes Chou Yuan-hua. The recommendation that Chen be transferred to a "hospital with a psychiatric department, or a psychiatric hospital closer to home" was medical boilerplate. Was it merely a compromise solution? What's more, this would amount to a "transfer," not the "discharge" or "home convalescence" that Chou Yuan-hua wanted. Therefore if "medical treatment" is the highest priority, the Taipei Veterans General Hospital boasts the highest standard of suicide watch medical care in the nation. If family members pay Chen regular visits, it is no different than "home convalescence."
Chou Yuan-hua recommends "home convalescence." But the law makes no such provisions. Since Chou thinks that if Chen returns home he could be a suicide risk, this leads to another concern. Therefore, we are back to whether to grant Chen "medical parole?"
Chou Yuan-hua said he does not oppose medical parole. But the family must bear responsibility. Medical parole has a pre-condition. Once one is cured, one must return to prison to serve out one's sentence. This really sounds like something a doctor would say.
In fact, according to existing laws, "bao wai jiu yi" is the same as "yi liao jia shi," i.e., "medical parole." It is release from prison so that one may visit one's doctor. One enjoys almost the same freedom as a parolee. But Chen Shui-bian is not paralyzed and lying in a bed. If he were to convene political meetings at home behind closed doors, no family member would assume responsibility. Also, medical parole also carries a suicide risk. Moreover, who will decide when Chen Shui-bian is "cured?" Who will decide when he must return to prison, to serve out his sentence? Suppose he is "cured," but refuses to return to prison? What then?
If Chen Shui-bian is paroled, there is no guarantee that he will not host political activities or participate in political meetings. Who can guaranteed that Chen Shui-bian will not commit suicide at home? From the perspective of legality, justice, or medical treatment, "medical parole" is highly problematic.
An even more critical issue is public mistrust. This mistrust has two dimensions. 1. The Chen family cannot be trusted. When Chen Shui-bian was running for county chief, he falsely claimed he had been poisoned. When Wu Shu-cheng was struck by a truck, she falsely claimed it was politically motivated. Chen Shui-bian is known for his dazzling variety of political tricks. As a result the Chen family simply cannot be trusted. Have we forgotten Wu Shu-chen's record of 17 court absences under the pretext of illness? Two. The credibility of the health care system has also been compromised. When Wu Shu-chen called in sick 17 times, National Taiwan University Hospital doctors backed her lies. No one really believes these physicians have any personal integrity or medical ethics. Since even physicians say Chen Shui-bian is a suicide risk, will family members really assume responsibility?
We are not opposed to medical parole. The law makes provisions for medical parole. If anyone qualifies for medical parole, the Ministry of Justice will assume responsibility. Inmates have the right to medical parole. Chen Shui-bian is no exception. He need merely meet the requirements for medical parole. This means he must not be a suicide risk in the event he is granted medical parole.
Should Chen Shui-bian be granted medical parole? There ought to be three pre-conditions. 1. One must first determine whether Chen Shui-bian is receiving medical treatment or being paroled. 2. His illness must be real. We must not permit a replay of the National Taiwan University Hospitial scandal, during which Wu Shu-chen called in sick 17 times, and the doctors backed her lies. 3. If the alleged illnesses are later found to be fabrications, or if Chen Shui-bian engages in outrageous behavior while on parole, someone must bear responsibility. The Chen family members cannot be trusted to bear responsibility. Nor can Chou Yuan-hua, from a legal standpoint.
Most members of the public feel that whoever requires medical parole should receive it. But they are afraid of being deceived, yet again, by Chen and his doctors.
2013.04.03 04:21 am