After 10 consecutive days of hiccups, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to hospital on Wednesday with a bowel obstruction, but doctors said they would not operate immediately.
Bolsonaro, 66, was admitted to the Armed Forces hospital in the capital Brasilia 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 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 underwent additional tests. . On Wednesday evening, the Hospital Nova Star released a statement saying the president would be receiving “conservative clinical treatment,” meaning he will not have surgery at this time.
Bolsonaro, who is both Catholic and Evangelical, posted on his official Twitter account a photo of himself lying in a hospital bed with his eyes closed, several surveillance sensors glued to his bare chest. At the edge of the photo, a hand stretches out the hand of an invisible person wearing what appears to be a black religious robe and a long chain with a gold cross.
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 all those listening to me, because I have had hiccups for five days now,” the president 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.
Chronic hiccups are usually a manifestation of an underlying problem, such as a blocked bowel, that might require surgery, said Dr Anthony Lembo, gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In some cases, part of the intestine may need to be removed, he said.
“Every time you move the bowels, it’s not a small surgery,” Lembo said, adding that with repeated surgeries, like in Bolsonaro’s case, the procedures become more complicated.
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. Recent polls have shown record approval ratings and indications that he could lose next year’s election.
On Tuesday evening, during a 20-minute meeting with the president in Brasilia, supporters repeatedly asked him to take care of his health.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update bulletins are written by the editors of The Globe, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. register today.