Yeltsin hospitalized with pneumonia
January 9, 1996
Web posted at: 5:10 a.m. EST (1010 GMT)
MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin was hospitalized with "the first signs of pneumonia" Wednesday, raising new concerns about his health two months after his heart surgery.
Yeltsin was being treated at the Central Clinical Hospital in
suburban Moscow. Initially, his spokesman would not elaborate
on his condition, except to say Yeltsin was not running a
But the Kremlin issued a statement Thursday confirming that
he had pneumonia. The statement also said doctors described
Yeltsin's temperature as "normal" and he was being treated
with anti-biotics. No further details were given.
The 65-year-old Yeltsin, who underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery in November and returned to work only two weeks ago, was reported on Monday to be suffering from a bad cold or the flu. He then canceled his schedule and returned to his country home to rest.
Dr. Michael DeBakey, a Houston heart surgeon who consulted with Yeltsin's surgical team, said Yeltsin should be better
within three days to a week, and was in a stronger condition to weather the illness now than before his recent operation.
From a phone interview with Dr. Michael DeBakey:
|On whether Yeltsin's recent heart surgery adds risk
||(129K/11 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)WAV sound)
|On the speed of pneumonia's progression:
||(216K/20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
|On Yeltsin's prognosis:
||(103K/10 sec.AIFF or WAV sound)
"It's really quite manageable," said DeBakey, who said he talked with Dr. Renat Akchurin, Yeltsin's surgeon. "I think now they caught it early, and my guess is it will be resolved in a matter of a few days."
Doctors noticed pneumonia-like symptoms during an examination of Yeltsin, and an X-ray showed "pneumonitis" in his left lung, DeBakey said.
The leader's overall health was good, DeBakey said, and it was prudent to hospitalize him promptly so "they could monitor it and treat him a little more intensively with antibiotics."
U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, on CNN's "TalkBack Live," warned against overreaction to the news of Yeltsin's illness.
Earlier, the State Department and the White House said they had received no specific information about Yeltsin's condition, other than the fact he had the flu.
One of Yeltsin's strongest rivals, Alexander Lebed, said the
president was too old and sick to govern and should step aside.
"He needs to retire since he can neither govern due to the state of his health nor lead a normal life," Lebed said in remarks broadcast by Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy.
The president had been holding regular meetings since his
return to the Kremlin, including talks with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Saturday.
His last meetings were Monday, when he discussed relations
with NATO with top Russian leaders, and held a separate meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.
If Yeltsin were unable to govern, the constitution calls for the prime minister to stand in for up to three months before a new election.
Chernomyrdin, a loyal Yeltsin ally, stepped in for a day when Yeltsin had his surgery. The prime minister had planned a week-long vacation beginning Thursday, but it was unclear whether he planned to cancel it.
Russian Finance Minister Alexander Livshits was admitted with the flu Wednesday to the same hospital as Yeltsin. Livshits is also a deputy prime minister and is a former economic adviser to Yeltsin.
A flu epidemic has swept Moscow in the new year. The Kremlin said several other members of Yeltsin's family, including his wife, have come down with colds.
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