Former president Havel seriously ill in hospital

Václav Havel

The former Czech president Václav Havel is in hospital, in what doctors are calling a serious condition, following an operation on his throat on Sunday. He was admitted to hospital after suffering from breathing difficulties. Following on from the surgery, there were further complications, though physicians are saying that Mr Havel’s condition remains stable.

Václav Havel
The Czech Republic’s first president Václav Havel called doctors on Sunday, complaining of a shortness of breath, and difficulties when swallowing. He was brought into hospital and operated on, and an abscess was removed from his throat. Following on from the surgery, however, the 72-year-old’s condition deteriorated. Mr Havel suffers from chronic bronchitis, and had most of his right lung removed in 1996 after being diagnosed with cancer. He is now being treated for respiratory problems.

A council of some of the country’s most esteemed doctors met on Wednesday to discuss Mr Havel’s condition and how best to treat their patient. After the meeting, Martina Pelichovská, who has been looking after the former president for the last couple of days, had this to say:

“This morning, Mr Havel’s condition worsened slightly for the second time. And so we decided to resort to so-called ‘non-invasive’ respiratory support, and then subsequently used physiotherapy to treat him.”

The head of Motol Hospital, Miloslav Ludvík, said that the council of doctors would meet once a day during Mr Havel’s stay, and thanked the large number of people who had voiced their support. Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, President Václav Klaus, and leader of the opposition Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek have all sent Mr Havel their best wishes.