Former South African President Nelson Mandela is recovering from a collapsed lung and could be released from hospital as early as Friday. Photo: AP
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is recovering from a collapsed lung and could be released from hospital as early as Friday. Photo: AP

Mandela’s failing health sparks concern

By Time of article published Jan 27, 2011

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Johannesburg - Concerns about former president Nelson Mandela's health flared up anew after his admittance to the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday, local media reported.

Beeld newspaper reported that from what they could gather, Mandela was in the hospital's private unit for burn victims.

The unit's windows were covered to ensure privacy and only one person was allowed in at a time.

Beeld reported that Mandela was admitted to the Milpark Hospital at 2pm and that a part of the hospital was closed off with green screening behind which family members could park.

Erin Walsh, spokesperson for Milpark Hospital, did not want to comment further on Mandela's health.

“It is our policy to respect patients and we would not give any details about the admission to anyone expect the family,” she said.

The Star newspaper reported that former president Nelson Mandela was seen by a pulmonologist.

Professor Michael Plit, a specialist pulmonologist (who deals with diseases of the respiratory system) at Milpark Hospital confirmed to the paper that he had seen Mandela on Wednesday.

“He has been admitted for investigation,” Plit said the paper reported.

He would not say what Mandela's condition was or if he had examined him, except to say he had seen him.

The newspaper reported that he was described as Mandela's personal physician.

The Star reported that a Facebook post by Mandela's granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, read: “I really hate to see you this way. It kills me each time. Know that i'm here for you as I believe you have always been there for me. You are never alone in this. We are all with you each and every step of the way. All you need to do is remember that you us at your back (sic) and call. I love you. You already know this. Spending my next few days with you just so I know that you'll be ok! I'm saddened....”

Security staff around the hospital and a source said the ward Mandela was in was considered “the most private and secure” in the hospital, where each person has a private cubicle, the paper reported.

A number of journalists converged on the hospital premises and set up camp on the Barry Hertzog flyover bridge that looked over the hospital.

At about 8pm, metro police arrived and attempted to remove journalists from the bridge. When they refused, police eventually gave up.

Relatives who went to visit Mandela at hospital were his wife, Graca Machel, his eldest grandson Chief Mandla Mandela, daughter Zindzi, and a number of grand- and great-grandchildren, The Star reported.

The Business Day reported Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his personal assistant Zelda la Grange and his former personal assistant Jessie Duarte also visited the hospital.

The paper reported that the Nelson Mandela Foundation issued no further comment after a terse statement at 4.15pm which read: “We can confirm that Mr Mandela is at Milpark Hospital undergoing routine tests. He is in no danger and is in good spirits.”

There has been speculation about Mandela's health for years. However the foundation has refuted several false rumours of his failing health - and even his death.

CNN reported on Wednesday night that Mandela was flown from Cape Town to Milpark Hospital on Wednesday and was brought to the hospital by military ambulance. - Sapa

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