Mother Teresa Still Not Out of Danger : Illness: Doctors say it's too early to tell how 81-year-old Nobel laureate is responding to antibiotics.


Mother Teresa remained in guarded condition New Year's Day as she continued to undergo treatment for bacterial pneumonia, physicians at Scripps Clinic & Research Foundation said.

The 81-year-old Nobel Prize winner, who has been hospitalized since Dec. 26, has yet to show signs of responding to antibiotics, said Dr. Patricia Aubanel, the physician who admitted Mother Teresa to the La Jolla hospital.

"She continues to be seriously ill," Aubanel said Wednesday. "Her condition remains essentially unchanged. It's too early to determine if she is responding to the treatment . . . but she is still alert and cheerful."

Mother Teresa, who had been in Tijuana visiting one of her missionaries as part of a worldwide tour, resisted being treated for flu-like symptoms last month, until her condition deteriorated into pneumonia. On Sunday, suffering from congestive heart failure brought on by pneumonia, she underwent an angioplasty, a procedure to increase the flow of oxygen to her heart.

That treatment was successful, said Dr. Paul Teirstein, another attending physician, but Mother Teresa probably will remain hospitalized for two to four weeks.

"We see changes from one moment to the next," he said. "There could be a setback at any time. . . . We are not really out of that danger period yet."

Mother Teresa, known for her charity work with the poor worldwide, was moved Wednesday from an intensive-care room overlooking the parking lot to a room with an ocean view, Aubanel said.

Between prayers, hospital-room Mass and visits with sisters from her order, Mother Teresa talked to nurses and doctors about access to medical care, Teirstein said.

"We had a conversation about the lack of medical care for the poor and what she wants to do about it," he said.

He said Mother Teresa had been scheduled to travel to New York, where she was to pick up supplies for treating heart ailments, and deliver them to a hospital in Calcutta.

Teirstein said: "As we give her her daily update, she says, 'Thank you for all your care. . . . And when can I leave? I have so much to do.' "

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