President Martelly diagnosed with pulmonary embolism following earlier surgery

President Michel Martelly was flown out of the country on Tuesday evening in a commercial airplane headed for Florida. This was due to chest pains he had been experiencing since his surgery on the right shoulder. On his arrival he was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism which in layman's language is a blood clot in the lungs.


He went on such short notice after his personal doctor advised him to do so upon examining him. He was treated in Miami in an un-disclosed hospital for security reasons. This complication came amidst claims that retired Dominican military officer and a Haitian accomplice were trying to force Martelly from office. The claims had been brought forward by Dominican and Haitian ministers, who supported these allegations with evidence of recorded phone calls between the two suspects. All the same investigations are underway and the retired colonel and his accomplice are yet to be proven guilty. Neighboring countries however have dismissed the allegations terming them as absurd and baseless.

Damian Merlo of the National Palace said the president is now recovering and in a stable condition during a press briefing. He is still in Miami recovering from pulmonary embolism and the date which he will come back is yet to be disclosed. The disease is common to people who have had surgery. Pulmonary embolism has symptoms of palpitations and difficulty in breathing and if left untreated it can cause death within hours.

In recent months Michel's health has been on the decline. It has hindered presidential trips in one way or another. The president was not able to attend the 6th summit but sent Laurent the designated prime minister to attend on his behalf. He was however able to meet the Mexican president to discuss issues of bilateral trade agreements between the two nations a few days after his surgery.

It is not surprising that the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism was clinched so fast, for it is a well documented fact that surgery lasting more than 30 minutes immobilizes a patient and predisposes him or her to developing deep venous thrombosis affecting the lower limbs. This clot, if dislodged, finds its way to the right side of the heart and then to the lungs, where it settles because the small size of the vessels do not permit it to get to the left side of the heart.

Whether the doctors who operated on him took precautions to prevent the occurrence of pulmonary embolism will be the subject for another day, but Martelly is lucky that he has the means to jet into Miami. I do wonder what would have happened if it was an ordinary Haitian suffering from the condition. My guess is as good as yours. Mortality would probably have been the result, given the lack of basic healthcare tools in the Hispaniola Island.

Before he became the president, Michel was a keyboard-playing musician. He was in that profession for more than two decades before his life flipped and he became a president. He is now 51 years old.

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