Britain’s Thatcher recovering from bladder surgery

Agence France-Presse
Britain's former prime minister Margaret Thatcher was recovering in hospital Saturday, December 22, following a minor operation to remove a growth in her bladder

MARGARET THATCHER, BRITAIN's FIGHTING lady, on the cover of TIME magazine on May 14, 1979. Image from Facebook

LONDON, United Kingdom – Britain’s former prime minister Margaret Thatcher was recovering in hospital Saturday, December 22, following a minor operation to remove a growth in her bladder.

Friends said the 87-year-old, Britain’s only female premier, was doing “fine” following the operation but was likely to remain in hospital over Christmas.

Dubbed the “Iron Lady”, Britain’s prime minister from 1979 to 1990, was admitted to hospital on Thursday after feeling unwell.

Thatcher’s spokeswoman said Friday that the former Conservative Party leader was “absolutely fine” following the operation.

In recent years, Thatcher — the 20th century’s longest continuous occupant of 10 Downing Street — has been a subdued figure.

After a series of minor strokes, she was told by doctors to quit public speaking in 2002. With dementia taking hold, she has appeared increasingly rarely in public.

Her daughter Carol once revealed that the former premier had to be repeatedly reminded that her husband Denis had died in 2003.

Public relations executive Lord Tim Bell, Thatcher’s adviser for her three general election victories, said she had undergone “minimally invasive” surgery.

“She felt unwell earlier in the week. She went to the doctor. The doctor sent her to the hospital,” he told BBC television.

“The hospital examined her, discovered a small growth in her bladder and they decided to remove it using what they describe as minimally invasive surgery, so no heavy anaesthetics and so on.

“The operation was a complete success, her condition is satisfactory. she’ll stay in hospital for a few more days to recuperate and then she’ll go home.

“It’s very simple, very straightforward, very minor operation. No big deal.

“All operations are difficult, doesn’t really matter what age you are. But she’s very tough and the doctors are perfectly happy, the surgeons are happy and they say the operation’s been completely satisfactory.”

Thatcher’s daughter has been at her side in hospital. Her son Mark is believed to be outside Britain on holiday.

Asked how long she might remain in hospital, Bell said: “A few days is the phrase being used.

“It’s perfectly possible she’ll be there across Christmas.”

Two years ago Thatcher missed an 85th birthday party at Downing Street laid on for her by Prime Minister David Cameron.

In July, she was not well enough to attend a Downing Street lunch thrown by Cameron for Queen Elizabeth II, to celebrate the monarch’s diamond jubilee.

The other surviving former prime ministers — Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major — all attended.

But in October, Thatcher was sufficiently well to mark her 87th birthday with lunch at a restaurant in London with her son and his wife.

Thatcher’s health was thrust into the global spotlight this year when US actress Meryl Streep starred in a controversial Hollywood film about her.

“The Iron Lady” drew criticism from Cameron and others for concentrating on her dementia. Streep won an Oscar for the role. –