RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who suffered from an unwavering 10-day hiccup, was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday where he was being assessed for possible emergency surgery to remove a bowel obstruction, announced his office.
Bolsonaro, 66, was admitted to the Armed Forces Hospital in Brasilia early in the morning and “felt fine”, according to an initial statement that doctors were examining his persistent hiccups.
But hours later, the president’s office said Dr Antonio Luiz Macedo, the surgeon who operated on Bolsonaro after being stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 presidential campaign, decided to transfer him to Sao Paulo, where he will undergo additional tests to assess the need for emergency surgery.
Bolsonaro posted on his official Twitter account a photo of himself lying on a hospital bed with his eyes closed, several surveillance sensors stuck to his bare chest.
The 2018 stabbing caused intestinal damage and severe internal bleeding, and the president has had several surgeries since, some unrelated to the attack.
In recent weeks, Bolsonaro appeared to have difficulty speaking on several occasions and said he suffered from recurring hiccups.
“I apologize to everyone listening to me, because I have had hiccups for five days now,” Bolsonaro said in an interview with Radio Guaiba on July 7. He suggested that certain medications prescribed after dental surgery could be the cause. “I have hiccups 24 hours a day.”
The next day, during his weekly Facebook Live session, Bolsonaro again apologized for not being able to express himself well due to the week-long hiccups.
Bolsonaro has been under increasing pressure from a congressional inquiry into his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and alleged corruption in the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines, and recent polls have indicated that he could lose in the next election in 2022.
On Tuesday evening, during a 20-minute meeting with the president in Brasilia, supporters repeatedly asked him to take care of his health.