May 10, 2018 10:40
Ex-President Park Geun-hye was taken to a hospital again for treatment of her chronic lower-back pain on Wednesday. Park was taken in a van to St. Mary's Hospital in Seoul around 11 a.m. and returned to her single cell around 2 p.m.
She has made several visits to hospital since she was arrested on charges of abuse of power and corruption in March last year.
Her first hospital trip came last July, when she stubbed her toe. She was then treated for a lumbar herniated disc in August and November. In November she also had a thorough checkup, including an MRI scan. This time she had her lower back x-rayed.
The remand prison where she is being held declined to give details, saying only that Park was taken to hospital at the suggestion of doctors.
Back in January, in reply to her court-appointed lawyers' questions about her health, the prison said that she was suffering from a lumbar herniated disc and gonarthritis.
Park is "suffering from such serious lower back pain that it's hard for her to remain seated long," said her lawyer Doh Tae-woo, who regularly visits Park. "The court should consider releasing her on parole."
"When I visited her on April 16, Park stood for about an hour during my visit that lasted an hour and 10 minutes. She briefly sat down when her legs hurt and stood up again when her lower back hurt," he added.
"The pain is getting worse every day," he said. "When I visited her in March, I had to stop interviewing her and leave because her pain was so serious that her face became contorted."
"She needs hospital treatment, but isn't given enough chances," he claimed. But a prison official said, "We don't put any particular restrictions on her treatment at hospital."
Park abandoned her appeal against her 24-year jail sentence, but the appeal is still going on because prosecutors appealed the sentence as too lenient.
She is separately on trial in absentia on additional charges of taking regular bribes from the National Intelligence Service.
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