Mother Teresa's Condition Remains Guarded, Doctors Say

TIMES STAFF WRITER

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 Peace Prize winner from Calcutta, 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 religious communities as part of a worldwide tour, fell ill with flu-like symptoms last month. She reportedly resisted being treated until her condition deteriorated into pneumonia. On Sunday, suffering from congestive heart failure brought on by the pneumonia, she underwent an angioplasty, a procedure to increase the flow of oxygen to her heart.

The treatment was successful, said Dr. Paul Teirstein, an 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."

The missionary nun, called by some the "Saint of the Gutters" for her charity work with the poor in Calcutta and elsewhere, 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 Masses and visits with sisters from her order, Mother Teresa talks 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.

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