Arroyo recovery ‘remarkable’ but treatment abroad still an option
The family of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is still considering medical treatment abroad for her despite a “remarkable improvement” in her condition, her spokesperson said Wednesday.
“She’s stable [now] relative to her spine. But her parathyroid glands are not working so [medical treatment abroad] is still being considered due to her bone mineral disorder and hypoparathyroidism,” Elena Bautista-Horn said in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Horn did not say when Arroyo was expected to leave the country.
“Bone mineral disorder is a very rare disease with very few specialists. We don’t have them here in the Philippines. Her medicines are even imported from the United States,” she said.
Last week, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Arroyo had not been able to use her three travel requests, including one for medical treatment in Germany.
He said there was “absolutely no reason” to deny any further travel request from Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, because she was not a flight risk.
Early this week, Arroyo’s legal spokesperson Raul Lambino said she was “worse off” since her neck surgeries starting in July. But on Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III’s deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said Malacañang preferred to hear about Arroyo’s true medical condition from her doctors rather than her lawyers.
“We would rather hear it from her doctors because, not to disparage anybody, doctors are in the best position to [talk about one’s medical condition],” Valte told reporters.
Arroyo was admitted to St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City in Taguig City on Tuesday for a scheduled follow-up consultation.
A medical bulletin issued Wednesday by her attending physicians said the implants in her neck were stable and that there was “remarkable improvement” in her neurologic status since her last surgery on August 23.
The bulletin quoted Dr. Mario Ver, Arroyo’s orthopedic surgeon, as saying that she was no longer suffering from pain in the neck and through her arms and hands, or from weakness or numbness in her upper extremities.
Ver also said the latest X-ray results showed no loosening or dislodgement of the implants in the neck and a stable alignment of the cervical spine.
Arroyo’s medical team led by Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes said the former President was focused on “bone healing,” which required calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D.
The doctors said Arroyo had developed a type of “bone mineral disorder” which made her bones weak and unable to support her first attempt at the fusion operation.
Dr. Bernie Laya, director of the hospital’s Institute of Radiology, concurred with Ver that early evidence of bone growth was taking place in the grafted anterior column C3 to C7 of Arroyo’s cervical spine.
The doctors also said Arroyo’s halo vest was removed three weeks ago and had been downgraded to a less rigid brace. They said they were encouraging the patient to perform rotational and head and neck exercises.
Arroyo was discharged from the hospital on September 3, after the repair of the dislodged bone implants in her neck. She first underwent spine surgery on July 29 to address a pinched nerve in her neck where four of her cervical vertebra were replaced with titanium implants.
The other members of Arroyo’s medical team are nephrologist Dr. Brian Cabral and endocrinologist Dr. Roberto Mirasol.
Lambino himself said Arroyo’s physical disposition had greatly improved compared to last week when he visited her at her home.
“If you saw her three weeks ago, [you’d be worried]. But yesterday, she seemed jolly in the sense that the results of her checkup showed improvements. This must be because of the additional mineral supplement,” he said. With reports from Penelope P. Endozo and Christine O. Avendaño