Mandela's health scares over the years

2012-12-08 23:16

Johannesburg - Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, aged 94, was admitted to hospital on Saturday for what the government described as routine tests.

Mandela, once a spry boxer who stayed fit during his 27 years in prison by doing calisthenics in his cell, has grown increasingly frail as a nonagenarian.

Over the years he has had a number of health scares, including in February when he spent the night in hospital after receiving a minor exploratory procedure to investigate persistent abdominal pain.

Madiba, as he is affectionately called, received a diagnostic laparoscopy, or "keyhole surgery", in which doctors made small incisions in the abdominal area to probe it with a tiny camera.

The ex-president's main medical problems have been:

- Respiratory

In January 2011, Mandela set the nation on edge when he was hospitalised for two nights with an unnamed acute respiratory infection, which the government initially described as "routine" testing.

He was released in a stable condition for home-based care and intense medical monitoring.

He has had longstanding lung problems. While serving his 27-year prison term, Mandela was diagnosed with early stage tuberculosis in 1988 after being admitted to hospital in Stellenbosch with a bad cough and weakness and having complained of dampness in his cell.

Two litres of fluid were drained from his chest and he spent six weeks recuperating in the hospital before being transferred to a private clinic near his mainland Cape Town prison where he was the facility's first black patient.

"When the report came back from hospital they indicated that fortunately we sent the specimen before there were holes in the lung," he said in 2004. "I underwent treatment and was completely cured after four months."

- Prostate

Mandela had surgery in 1985 for an enlarged prostate gland that had caused a urinary blockage.

In 2001, he received radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer and told reporters the following year that he had been given a clean bill of health against the disease.

- Eyes

The tear glands of Mandela's eyes were damaged by years of being forced to smash limestone rocks in the quarry on Robben Island, due to the alkalinity of the stone, leaving them dry and prone to irritation.

He had cataract surgery, aged 75 in 1994, a few months after being sworn into office as president.

Press photographers were asked not to use camera flash when taking pictures of Mandela.

  • kuvha.tshilamatanda - 2012-12-09 02:50

    Only evil people and those who are the product of apartheid hate mandela but greatest thinkers admires him cause through his ideas of peace mandela has inspired people of the world!

  • liam.doherty.334 - 2012-12-09 03:44

    I hope he is going to be ok. I have so much respect for the man. Long live Madiba!

  • Jessy Mazorodze Musa - 2012-12-09 07:36

    long live tata Mandela

  • Stefan Erasmus - 2012-12-09 08:01

    If Zuma was just half a man he was. Please God help this country.

  • deon.vantonder.77 - 2012-12-09 08:21

    The ANC government will always deny untill they cannot hide it anymore. So anything you hear from government, take it with a pinch of salt.

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-12-09 08:53

    Isn't it amazing that De Klerk still believes he brought peace by if he ever stood a chance against a man of this statue...he isn't good enough to kiss Mandela's feet... They still gave De Klerk a Nobel Peace if he ever deserved it...Nelson Mandela is a gentleman who definitely deserved it... This man that has all these ailments because of inhumane conditions...a jail set up illegally by idiots of a corrupt so called white government...and I say clearly so called because I have more respect for human beings than they had for themselves...did they qualify as human beings...with all the torture they dished out for years...then they want us to 'get over it'....this man is suffering today because he dedicated his whole life to rverse the 100 odd years of discrimination...torturing innocent people....taking ones dignity away and treating decent people like animals...worse than animals...animals can go onto a 'whites only' beach or live in a 'whites only' area...looking back on this I wonder if today's youth actually have any clue what some of us lived through...witness...and even endured at the hand of the 'law'...that's what De Klerk keeps harping on that it was the system...a corrupt..murderous system...... I hate what they did to this country...I absolutely hate what they did to peoples minds...who still believ they are black,,,white,,,and coloured...the mental jail we still have to break out of ...finally accept we are decent human beings...

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-12-09 08:55

    I will never accept that De Klerk can rewrite our history as if 60 odd years of subhuman treatment never happened...its time we don't just accept that this person can just say anything and get away with it...those days are over...finally...its time he realises with every action there is a concequence

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-12-09 09:00

    I know many will have an opinion on our situation today...thats another story...but when I hear how some want to sugar coat what happened...the countless people who went through generations of sub classed education...job reservation...quotas based on 'race' when applying to tertiary institutions....this is the that for 10 years and see the that for 50 years and well...its just crazy to think this was our reality...we dont have to accept what we are dished out today but we have a voice to do it with and the freedom to make a difference

  • brenda.dick.714 - 2012-12-09 11:28

    He is just a man, and SA is worse off than pre-1994. I am sure if he had a choice in the matter he would have chosen not to be jailed, unlike Ghandi who went on hunger strikes voluntarily. Big difference.

      motshandi.mochandi - 2012-12-10 13:58

      brenda.dick.714. I wonder how old are you? sa is worse off than pre-1994, that's total stupidity. Finally please do your research about the man before you could comment about his struggles under the racist government.

  • sakhilec - 2012-12-09 12:28

    l assume he is a mere mortal like all of us, as birth proclaimed his life; demise will also spell his end. Why would we condemn him to eternal living?

  • Mbuso Siera - 2012-12-09 13:30

    So the whites r responsible for all his ill heath problems he endured....nd black ppl r jumping with Zille nd the DA??????

      liam.doherty.334 - 2012-12-09 14:14

      Maybe its the current state of the country that is making him unwell, not the past??

  • Lucy Hadebe - 2012-12-10 01:13

    Mbuso Thanx !

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