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Authorities urged to pay closer attention to ex-president's health

2012/09/15 18:14:57

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) The family of jailed former President Chen Shui-bian urged authorities Saturday to pay more attention to Chen's health problems, in light of the fact that he previously suffered a stroke.

Chen Chih-chung, the former president's son, said a team of neurosurgeons and urologists from major medical centers should be allowed to examine his father.

"I've been told by doctors that people who have had a thrombotic stroke have a high chance of relapse within two to three years," Chen Chih-chung said during a visit to Taoyuan General Hospital to see his father.

The former president, who is serving a 17.5-year sentence for corruption, has been hospitalized since Wednesday after complaining of having difficulty urinating.

Because Chen also complained of a headache and speech problems, he was given a magnetic resonance imaging scan of the head Friday.

The MRI showed he has a 0.4-centimeter clot in his right frontal lobe that was caused by brain ischemia -- a type of stroke caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain -- but it is unclear when the stroke occurred, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement Friday.

The hospital determined that the condition was unrelated to Chen's headache and speech problems, the statement said.

Chen's condition does not qualify him for medical parole, and he may be discharged from the hospital as soon as Monday, the ministry added.

Despite the ministry's explanation, Chen's family and supporters continued their calls for him to be released on medical parole.

When asked about the issue Saturday, opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang said he understands the feelings of Chen's family and that he will work with the family toward that goal. (Chiu Chun-chin, Justin Su and Y.F. Low)