Taipei, April 26 (CNA) The health condition of Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian, who is currently serving a sentence for corruption, is "not as serious" as many people think, the warden of Taipei Prison said Thursday.
Based on daily monitoring, the ex-president's blood pressure is stable, and he exercises up to one hour every day, the prison's warden Fang Tzu-chieh said, adding that Chen's condition is not so serious as his family claimed.
Moreover, after a cardiac catheterization was performed on Chen on March 8, doctors at Taoyuan General Hospital decided that the former president did not need to undergo surgery to place a tube in the coronary arteries or have percutaneous coronary intervention, Fang said at a press conference held at the Ministry of Justice.
He further added that Chen, who is serving a 17.5-year prison term for corruption during his tenure as president from 2000-2008, has undergone a series of medical checkups since February, when Chen complained about suffering tiredness and irregular defecation, but the government-run hospital ruled out the possibility of colon cancer.
In April, Chen had a medical checkup outside the prison and was found to have a prostate tumor. Doctors asked the former president, who had been on medication to control tumor growth, to stop taking the drugs so a biopsy can be performed to determine the nature of the tumors.
Fang said prisoners that are eligible to be released on bail to receive intensive medical treatment are patients who have cancer or pneumonia, or who have had a stroke.
As for Chen's situation, he can only apply for an extensive health checkup at his own expense, according to the prison's rules.
(By Huang Yi-han and Nell Shen)