Mother Teresa Tells Doctor She 'Has to Get Well'

From a Times Staff Writer

Although she remains seriously ill, Mother Teresa is displaying a new determination to fight the pneumonia that forced her to be hospitalized a week ago and which will keep her here at least another week, physicians said Thursday.

"She's still not out of danger," said Dr. Paul Teirstein at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. "The encouraging thing is, she's not getting worse."

The biggest change in the 81-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is her attitude toward getting better, according to Teirstein and Mother Teresa's personal physician, Dr. Patricia Aubanel.

Aubanel said it was "encouraging to see she was alert and cheerful and before anything, she told me she wanted to get well, that she had to get well, that everybody in the world was praying for her, the poor needed her, she was responsible for thousands of people in the world, and that she had to get well. That always helps."

Mother Teresa, 81, was admitted to the clinic Dec. 26 because of concern over an upper respiratory infection that persisted for several days as a cold. On Saturday, her condition was diagnosed as congestive heart failure triggered by pneumonia, and on Sunday she underwent a procedure to clear blocked arteries.

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