Snow Storm of June in Taipei
My Third Visit to See President Chen in Taichung Prison
After I finished my clinic duties at my hospital in the morning, I took the rest of the day off and took the high speed train to Taichung to visit President Chen in the afternoon. In the evening, I presented my visit report to the volunteer medical team in Taipei.
My visit was arranged by DPP legislator Ms. Yu and I was accompanied by Prof. Chen Long-Chi and Mr. Huang. First time, I was able to say Hi to the Taichung Prison warden, Mr. Chang.
I brought with me my diagnostic bag and requested permission from warden Chang to let me conduct treatment for President Chen. Warden Chang refused and told me that it would cause trouble for him because his superior won't allow it. However, I thought to myself that I could still conduct a proper treatment for President Chen even if you stripped me off all my belongings,
At 3 pm, I entered the shack constructed with sheet metal to house President Chen. They springled water on the roof to keep the temperature down and had the electric fan running at full speed, but President Chen was still dripping with sweat and his shirt was all wet. Mrs. Chen was visiting him but she stayed out of the air flow of the fan to avoid catching cold. Both of them greeted us.
After exchanging some pleasantries with the visitors, President Chen suddenly became emotional and proclaimed that Ministry of Justice (MOJ) lied in their news release on his suicide attempt. President Chen told us that his suicide attempt was due to his severe depression, not merely due to the news regarding the new pardon law designed to set KMT Yen free and the obstacles he faces to become a DPP member. He complained that MOJ did not respect his privacy and released the information with their own speculation without his permission.
Due to his severe depression and the decay of his front brain lobe, his emotion and mind are unable to escape the state of hopelessness and helplessness. During the day, the visitors, from his family, friends, legislators, and medical team, are able to keep him company to release his tension. However, when the night falls with all visitors being sent away, loneliness and depression torture him relentlessly. When he was at Taipei General Veteran Hospital, Dr. Chou Yuan-Hwa, his appointed psychiatrist, arranged three one hour treatment sessions for him with psychiatrists each week and I myself was able to see him every other week for two hours. With medication, we were able to release and contain his symptoms.
In the evening of June 3, President Chen's mood was down again due to his depression. On top of that, he thought of the new pardon law which exonerates all embezzlement cases of discretionary funds in Taiwan for everybody except him, even though he did not embezzle any money but used his presidential discretionary fund for top-secret diplomatic efforts to fight for Taiwan's survival on the international stage. But here he is, the only one who is not exonerated and is serving lengthy jail terms. With his sadness becoming unbearable, he tied three pieces of towel together with one end around his neck and the other end to a faucet. He then laid himself flat to choke himself to death. The inmates assigned to watch over him noticed that he disappeared from the monitor screen and heard some choking noise. They rushed over to save him. He did not tell these young Taiwanese inmates why he attempted suicide. Therefore, it is false when MOJ states that he told the rescuers why he wanted to kill himself.
Afterward, he requested to see a doctor repeatedly. After over an hour of wait, a resident of Pei-Deh Hospital finally showed up. This doctor is not a specialist in neurology or psychiatric treatment and he did not even know why he was called to see President Chen. The doctor asked him where his discomfort was but President Chen refused to answer to this clueless doctor. Around 11:40 pm, the prison authority finally informed the psychiatric director of Taichung General Veteran Hospital, who visited him for about 20 minutes. He simply wanted to quit. Even with the psychiatric medication, his condition has not improved and he wanted to give up living.
The volunteer medical team called a news conference. They pointed out the ridicule of releasing some one who spent public money to wine and dine in a night club, while almost letting a former president of Taiwan die. DPP legislator Kao Chih-Peng pleaded for humanity to those who accused President Chen of acting in his suicide attempt.
DPP legislator, Dr. Chen Chih-Mai, pointed out that Dr. Chou Yuan-Hwa alerted the government the importance of suicide prevention. However, "Where was the medical care which was supposed to be offered by Taichung General Veteran Hospital?", demanded by Dr. Chen. Ma should be condemned for his role in violating the medical human rights of President Chen.
Dr. Chen Chiao-Chi of Makay Hospital, a renowned psychiatrist, told reporters that President Chen knew very well what death meant to him. He considered death as the most effective way to declare his innocence. A patient who attempted suicide will try again. It is a national tragedy when we harbor the circumstance leading to the suicide of a former president.
Today, an extremely rare "Snow Storm of June" hit. Hail storm raid Taipei, bombarding the building of Judicial Tower, causing panic among judges and legal staff inside. The tarp covering the 4th floor roof of the constitution court was blown away by the storm (see picture below), and its underneath sheathing was fractured into fragments, spreading all over the ground below. It is an OMEN! Be aware, the self-degrading judicial system of Taiwan.
(作者陳順勝教授 - 陳前總統民間醫療小組成員)
(Author: Professor Chen Shuen-Shen, member of the volunteer medical team for President Chen)
June 4, 2013