Nov 10, 2006

Mokhzani: His hectic schedule to blame

November, 10 2006 (MalaysiaKini) Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s heart attack is a mild one and unlikely to result in surgery, according to his son, Mokhzani Mahathir.

“It’s a mild heart attack. There’s no stroke, no whatever... nothing that would debilitate him,” he told reporters at the National Heart Institute (IJN) today.

Mahathir was warded at 4.30 this morning. He arrived at the institute earlier, accompanied by his wife, Dr Siti Hasmah and all their children.

The former premier had complained of chest pains at 11.30pm last night during a Hari Raya open house held at his residence at Seri Kembangan.

A doctor was called in at 3am before the premier was taken to IJN in an ambulance, said Mokhzani.

“I spoke to him very early this morning. He was talking about the Shahrukh Khan concert. He was very excited. That was about 4.30 in the morning,” he said.

Mokhzani said the heart attack came possibly as a result of a hectic schedule of meetings.

“If you look at his track record, he is a person who knows about managing stress and pressure very well. But if you look at his schedule, he just came back from travelling, and he may have eaten a little too much at the open house (last night), (where) he met a lot of people. I think it may have triggered (the heart attack),” he said.

No opportunity to meet

Mokhzani said that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not have the opportunity to speak to his father when he paid him a visit in the afternoon.

“At that time, my father was sound asleep. They did not meet,” he said, adding that he appreciated the prime minister’s visit.

“He (Abdullah) was just concerned about my father’s well being. He told the doctors that everything possible be done (to ensure the well-being of Mahathir). But the conversation was between myself, the prime minister and the doctors.”

He said Mahathir was sedated in the afternoon, before the prime minister dropped in at the Coronary Care Unit for a visit at 2.15pm.

Mokhzani added that his father was conscious all the while, before being sedated, and had been in bed since 5am today.

In the previous night, the former premier appeared in a jovial mood, entertaining some 2,000 guests at his son, Mukhriz’s open house held at his residence at the Mines Resort in Seri Kembangan.

Among those present were PAS secretary general Kamarudin Jaafar and Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin.

Mahathir was seen to be smiling and joking with guests, and had even flirted mildly with his wife before retiring just before midnight. He did not speak to reporters.

Doctor's 'rest' order

On when his father would be discharged, Mokhzani said, “In whatever we do, we will follow exactly what the doctors say. I’m sure my father will follow the advice of the cardiologist.

“I think the doctors would like him to rest here. The doctors believed that the treatment would alleviated the discomfort he was feeling earlier on.”

He said that his father is unlikely to receive visitors in the next few days. “For the time being, in the next 48 hours, it is very unlikely that anyone will be visiting him. They will be visiting my mother, but not my father.

“My mother has been through this before. As in previous times, she would check in and check out with him. She would not leave the hospital,” he added.

Mahathir had a coronary artery bypass surgery in 1989 when he was 64. His last admission to IJN was in December last year for a regular medical check-up.

Mokhzani said doctors raised some concerns on the health condition of his father who has reportedly three blockages in his heart.

“Since last year, we were not that worried for his health, especially since he checked out for his heart condition. He has been on a very regimented diet since.

“He takes care of his health, and he knows what he’s facing. He’s 82 years old, but he’s taking every precaution to keep his health in good shape, he writes and exercises regularly. He travels too, maybe a bit too extensively.

“He eats a lot of vegetables and lean cuisines. He’s in better shape than I am. He writes every Sunday,” his son added.

Messages appreciated

Mokhzani said the family has received a lot of calls and messages praying for Mahathir’s health.

“We appreciate those messages from a lot of people who have known him in one way or another,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mahathir’s aides took pains to deny initial reports that the prime minister had spoken with Mahathir during a visit to the institute.

An unidentified doctor had told reporters that there was ‘an exchange of words’ between the two. Several news organisations initially ran reports that Abdullah had spoken with Mahathir.

“He (the doctor) was wrong,” said personal aide Sufi Yusoff. He also asserted, however, that Abdullah was not denied a personal visit by doctors.

“Visitors are limited to family members only. And don’t say that he was barred,” he told malaysiakini.

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