Marcos Underwent Kidney Transplants, Doctors Say

Associated Press

Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos had kidney transplants in 1983 and 1984, amid speculation that he was seriously ill, according to a published report.

The Pittsburgh Press reported Sunday in a copyright story that Drs. Enrique Ona and Potenciano Baccay said the transplants were performed in August, 1983, and November, 1984, at the Philippines National Kidney Foundation in Manila. Newsweek magazine had a similar report.

Baccay, one of Marcos’ personal physicians and vice president of the National Kidney Foundation, was found stabbed to death Nov. 2, shortly after he spoke to the newspaper. Police said he was kidnaped and slain by communist rebels.


Ona is director of transplantation at the Philippine National Kidney Center. He said today that he was interviewed by an American reporter two months ago but “I was misquoted,” and denied being Marcos’ doctor.

A spokesman for the 68-year-old Philippine president today called the report “sheer fantasy.”

Dr. G. Baird Helfrich, director of renal transplants for Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, and Dr. Barry Kahan, director of transplantation at Houston’s Hermann Hospital, performed the surgery in Manila, Baccay had told the newspaper.

Marcos’ body rejected the first kidney transplanted by Helfrich and Kahan performed the second transplant, the Filipino doctors told the Press.

Helfrich said he was in the Philippines in August, 1983, and Kahan said he was in Manila in the fall of 1984 and “did a number of transplants on Filipino patients.”

When asked by the Press if Marcos was one of his patients, Kahan refused to comment. Helfrich also refused to comment, citing patient confidentiality.