BOGOTA – Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon remains in the intensive care unit of a Bogota hospital after suffering a cerebrovascular failure that left him in “delicate but stable” condition, President Juan Manuel Santos said.
Santos, who returned from Los Cabos, Mexico, after attending the G-20 summit, acted as spokesman to the people after visiting Garzon and speaking with doctors at Bogota’s Reina Sofia Clinic.
“His condition is delicate but stable. They’ve done all that is humanly possible,” Santos told reporters waiting at the entrance to the clinic, adding that Garzon is “in the best of hands.”
Garzon, 65, was hospitalized last June 14, apparently suffering from a prostate infection, but after several days in the clinic he experienced cerebrovascular pain for which he had an emergency operation last Monday.
A recent communique released by the scientific director of the Reina Sofia Clinic, Dr. Luis Augusto Cortes Delvalle, said that Garzon is suffering from brain ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the brain) and remains in the ICU.
The patient is “in delicate but stable condition, under strict medical observation, with measures of neurological protection as part of the management of his severe cerebrovascular illness,” the statement said.
Dr. Mario Muñoz, a neurologist with Bogota’s Marly Clinic, said on Caracol Radio that the brain damage could cause the vice president lasting problems with his sight, memory and speech because the mesencephalon, or mid-brain, where the damage occurred, is vital to the functioning of various parts of the body.
Dr. Enrique Jimenez Hakim, of the Santa Fe Foundation, said on the same radio station that this is an extremely grave situation, since brain damage like this could result in a loss of brain function, induced or natural coma, or even death.
According to an announcement on Tuesday, this Thursday marks the completion of the time needed to determine the extent of Garzon’s brain damage and its possible consequences.
This is Garzon’s second serious health problem since being sworn-in as Colombian vice president on Aug. 7, 2010.
A little more than 24 hours after his inauguration he suffered cardiac pain, for which he had to undergo surgery that left him incapacitated for several weeks.
In recent months, Garzon traveled internationally, drumming up support for his thwarted candidacy to be head of the International Labor Organization, or ILO, which led him to set aside his normal routine of regular medical checkups and a special diet.
Garzon, a respected former union leader, became vice president on the ticket with Juan Manuel Santos after serving as labor minister in the Andres Pastrana government (1998-2002) and ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010). EFE