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Doctors give Mother Teresa's heart mild shock

December 11, 1996
Web posted at: 9:00 a.m. EST (1400 GMT)

CALCUTTA, India (CNN) -- Doctors said a mild electric shock Wednesday successfully corrected Mother Teresa's irregular heartbeat, and the 86-year-old Roman Catholic nun asked to go home.

Mother Teresa was hospitalized November 22 following a mild heart attack, and underwent heart surgery November 29 to clear blocked arteries. Her eight-member medical team delayed treating the irregular heartbeat because of other ailments, including bronchial pneumonia.

But on Wednesday, Mother Teresa had responded to antibiotic treatment, and doctors administered the shock.

"At this point, she is stable and it is hoped that the (regular) rhythm will remain," said Dr. Patricia Aubanel at the B.M. Birla Heart Research Center.

The 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner was awake but sedated during the procedure, doctors said, and asked immediately if it had been successful. When told it was successful, Aubanel said the nun responded, "Wonderful. Let us go home now."

Doctors also said that it was possible that Mother Teresa could return home by Christmas.

The Roman Catholic missionary has been anxious to return to her work with the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order she founded. She met with a group of nuns from the order Saturday to give them instructions, and did paperwork for the order on Tuesday.

Doctors said she is also walking in the clinic's intensive therapy unit, gradually regaining mobility.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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