Gloria Arroyo doc fears ‘worst’
Cardiologist urges immediate surgery in US or AustriaBy Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must seek foreign medical attention as soon as possible as her condition took a turn for the worse, her doctor said Friday.
But Malacañang said all means must be exhausted to get treatment here for Arroyo, who is facing electoral sabotage, breach of ethics and plunder charges.
Dr. Roberto Anastacio, a cardiologist at Makati Medical Center (MMC), said the shifting parts of a metal brace on the cervical spine of Arroyo had become more “progressive and aggressive.”
The condition was causing Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative in Congress, increasing difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
Asked by reporters if the condition was deadly, Anastacio replied, “Yes.”
Anastacio ordered Arroyo discharged on Friday despite her worsening condition, but advised her to get immediate surgery abroad.
“She has no choice,” Anastacio said.
Arroyo’s condition needed, Anastacio said, “a complete support structure” of specialists used to “repetitive reconstruction.”
Such a team of experts—composed of a surgeon, neurophysiologists, biomedical engineers and medical researchers—is not available in the Philippines, Anastacio said.
But a Malacañang official said the government must independently verify the real state of Arroyo’s health.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a senior political adviser to President Aquino, said that once Arroyo’s real condition is established, the government will need to determine if there are specialists and facilities in the country to continue caring for her here.
“If yes, well and good; if no, can those specialists and facilities be brought into the country to treat her?” Abad said.
The Inquirer tried to contact Arroyo’s spokesperson, Elena Bautista-Horn, through her mobile phone but got no response.
Arroyo had a quantum-CT scan in May, which showed the titanium plates that had been implanted in her cervical spine had shifted.
She had a second quantum-CT scan at MMC on Aug. 14.
In a medical bulletin issued on Friday, Anastacio said the results of the second scan showed that the 6-cm titanium plate and cage in Arroyo’s neck had shifted some more since May, further pushing into muscles and causing “protrusions” in the walls of her air and food pathways.
The protrusions, Anastacio said, may result in abnormal breathing, leading to sudden disturbance of blood circulation and “sudden death.”
Compounding Arroyo’s difficulties were two blockages in her coronary vessels. Anastacio said it was possible the pathway blockages were related to the coronary blockages.
Arroyo’s inability to take in air and food properly may affect her blood circulation, he said.
Anastacio said there was an “aggressive progress of the protrusion of both upper and lower plates” near Arroyo’s voice box, which he described as a “very dangerous area.”
The shifting of the titanium plates has caused Arroyo’s voice pitch to change, and could be related to her weight loss, Anastacio said.
Asked if Arroyo could travel and carry out her congressional duties, Anastacio said: “She can travel. I will not wait for further complications.”
Treatment in US, Austria
Anastacio recommended that Arroyo seek treatment in the United States and Austria, where experts are used to repetitive surgeries.
“This will be the fourth operation” involving Arroyo’s titanium brace, Anastacio said.
The titanium brace was placed in Arroyo’s cervical spine last year to deal with compressed nerves in her neck, causing her severe pain in her arms.
Earlier this month, Arroyo was rushed to Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City after choking on a piece of melon.
The brace is apparently making it difficult for her to breathe and eat, Anastacio said. With a report from TJ Burgonio
First posted 11:41 pm | Friday, August 17th, 2012