Madiba had ‘water on the lungs’

2013-03-31 10:00

Former president Nelson Mandela has spent a fourth night in a Pretoria hospital with pneumonia.

Both his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the presidency yesterday said he was “responding well” to treatment.

Madikizela-Mandela, who conceded that “it is a very difficult time”, told the BBC after an Easter church service in Soweto: “Tata is doing well. He is responding well to treatment.”

She also said the family was very “touched and very, very humbled” by the well wishes he received from across the world.

“We were very touched this morning when we heard (US) president Barack Obama also wishing Tata well. It is very inspiring that at least we have the whole world on our side,” she said.

Yesterday, Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said that Mandela had developed pleural effusion (water on the lungs) because of a lung infection, and this was tapped, something which is described by doctors as a minor procedure.

“This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty.”

Maharaj has, however, cautioned South Africans that Mandela was old and urged the country to pray for Madiba, who was admitted to hospital around midnight on Wednesday for a “recurrence of pneumonia”.

It is the third time in four months that Mandela has been to hospital, and the second time this month.

He spent a night in hospital for tests and check-ups three weeks ago after an abdominal complaint.

In December, he was in hospital for nearly three weeks, again for a lung infection.

He also underwent gallstone surgery during that time.

Mandela has had problems with his lungs since he was diagnosed with early stage TB in 1988 during his 27-year jail term.

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