Arroyo not getting better
MANILA, Philippines – The health of jailed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not improving as she continues to lose weight due to difficulty in swallowing solid food, doctors at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) said.
In medical update dated March 5, VMMC doctors said Arroyo has poor appetite since she is suffering from esophageal stenosis or the narrowing of the esophagus.
The medical bulletin was signed by Dr Martha Nucum, medical team head and chief of VMMC's medical professional staff, and was submitted by defense lawyer Modesto Ticman to the Sandiganbayan First Division on Monday, March 10.
Nucum said Arroyo's latest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study shows she has multilevel lumbar spine stenosis with nerve root decompression, while a bone density test "showed evidence of osteoporosis."
"At present she continues to complain of cervical radicular pain and low back pain with radiculopathy which are relieved temporarily with NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and twice weekly physiotherapy but with no actual significant clinical improvement," the VMMC reported to the Sandiganbayan.
More family time
Nucum said Arroyo's "overall wellness" would benefit from regular interaction with her family, and walks outside her detention room.
"We reiterate that all available possible medical management has been rendered and we highly recommend that constant family bonding should be encouraged since it is still key to her overall wellness and treatment," she said.
Nucum also said that even in her state, Arroyo can take short trips outside Metro Manila.
"Despite her poor physical health, she is capable of undertaking short vehicle trips outside of Metro Manila like a two-hour car ride north of Pampanga or down south to Tagaytay," she said in the medical update.
On March 10, Arroyo asked the Sandiganbayan to grant her a 3-day furlough from April 4 to 6 to celebrate her 67th birthday in her hometown, Lubao, Pampanga.
Arroyo, serving her second term as Pampanga representative, is under hospital arrest for plunder charges over the alleged misuse of P366 million of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. – Rappler.com