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Surgeons Remove Marcos’ Only Functioning Kidney

From Times Wire Services

Former Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos, said to be close to death late Thursday, underwent an unscheduled operation for the removal of his only functioning kidney.

“Mr. Ferdinand Marcos was taken to our operating room about 1 p.m. (local time) for removal of his transplanted kidney,” said a St. Francis Medical Center assistant administrator, Eugene Tiwanak. “The surgical procedure, which lasted less than one hour, was necessary because of rejection.

“Mr. Marcos’ recovery in our intensive care unit is stable. He remains semi-comatose and his condition is critical,” Tiwanak said, adding that his condition could change rapidly.

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Doctors described Marcos as reacting to stimuli, but not alert after surgery. “He reacts to touch, he may open his eyes, that kind of reaction,” Tiwanak said, adding that a fully comatose patient would issue only a blank stare.

Before the emergency surgery, a tearful Imelda Marcos had sung a Philippine song, “How Much I Love You,” to her husband as he lay in a near coma attached to a respirator.

“We are praying for a miracle,” she said. “If I could just tell him he could go back home (to the Philippines) I know this would save him.”

The song appeared to win a response from the 71-year-old Marcos, who has kidney, heart and lung failure. He opened his eyes and squeezed his wife’s hand, friends said.

Philippine President Corazon Aquino has refused repeated requests by Marcos, who went into exile in Honolulu in February, 1986, to be allowed back home.

“His major organs are virtually shut down and he is being kept alive by machines,” Tiwanak said earlier. Marcos, who has undergone a series of operations, has to be given anti-bacterial drugs.

But Imelda Marcos said Thursday she would not allow her husband to be removed from the respirator. “That will be done over my dead body,” she said.

Imelda Marcos, who has kept vigil at her husband’s bedside with their son Ferdinand Jr., was joined at the hospital Thursday by her daughter, Irene Araneta, who had flown from California.

Marcos has been ruled too ill to stand trial in New York on U.S. charges of stealing $109 million from the Philippine treasury and of defrauding New York banks of $165 million. His wife is free on bail on similar charges.

Medical bills are running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, the friends said.


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