President Jair Bolsonaro will not need surgery but no date has yet been set for his discharge, doctors said on Tuesday, after the Brazilian leader was rushed to hospital with a partially blocked bowel.
Bolsonaro, 66, developed abdominal pain while on a New Year’s beach vacation in the southern state of Santa Catarina, and was airlifted to a Sao Paulo hospital early Monday aboard the presidential jet.
Doctors said his partial intestinal blockage “has been cleared” and he is making “satisfactory progress” – but will be put on a liquid diet and remain in hospital for the time being.
It is the latest in a series of health problems since the far-right leader was stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 election campaign that brought him to power.
Doctors initially said he might need surgery. However, senior surgeon Antonio Luiz Macedo, who has operated on Bolsonaro in the past, determined that another operation was unnecessary.
“President Jair Messias Bolsonaro’s intestinal underocclusion has been eliminated, without surgery,” Vila Nova Star Hospital said in a statement.
“The patient is making satisfactory progress in clinical evaluations and laboratory tests, and will begin a liquid diet today. There is still no release schedule.”
– Hook up on social networks –
Bolsonaro posted a photo on TikTok and Instagram of himself being examined by doctors.
First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro meanwhile tweeted a photo of the president hooked up to an IV bag and walking down a hospital hallway.
On Monday, Bolsonaro tweeted a photo of himself giving a thumbs up from his hospital bed, his face fitted with a nasogastric tube.
Bolsonaro, who is adept at using social media to energize his base, has maintained his online presence with posts on Facebook about a dam project in the northeastern state of Ceara and on Twitter about an exemption increased cost of importing scientific equipment.
The president was last hospitalized in July, for another bowel obstruction that gave him persistent hiccups.
On this occasion, he spent four days in the hospital. The doctors also decided not to operate and prescribed a liquid diet.
He underwent at least four surgeries following his stabbings at a campaign rally in September 2018, carried out by a man who claimed to follow God’s orders and was later found mentally unfit to stand trial.
Bolsonaro regularly cries when talking about the knife attack, which nearly cost him his life.
Despite losing 40% of his blood, he survived and won the presidency in October, fueling supporters’ unwavering faith in the man they call ‘Mito’ – ‘The Myth’.
Bolsonaro’s aura of invincibility has since faded, however.
His approval ratings are at an all-time low as he prepares to seek re-election in October.
His polarizing style continues to excite his far-right base, but he has lost crucial support within the political center and the business sector.
The Brazilian economy is in recession, with high inflation and unemployment.
Bolsonaro is also facing a lot of criticism over his handling of Covid-19.
He has insistently downplayed the virus and flouted expert advice to fight it, even as the pandemic has claimed nearly 620,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.
Recent polls put Bolsonaro far behind his likely main challenger in the October elections, leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.