Mandela Doctors Not ‘Focusing on Discharge,’ Says Spokesman


0  Updated at 6:14 pm, December 21st, 2012 By: ABC Digital
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Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) — On day 14 of Nelson Mandela’s hospitalization, a spokesman for the Office of the Presidency reiterated to Friday that Mandela may not be released from the hospital anytime soon.  

“I don’t think the doctors are focusing on discharge, but are focusing on the problem,” Mac Maharaj said.

Last night, President Jacob Zuma was the first government official to publicly admit that Mandela’s condition was serious when he was first hospitalized.  In a speech on the final night of his political party’s elective conference Zuma said, “His condition was serious but he is responding well to treatment and he steadily improved over the last few days.”  

Initially, the government had said Mandela was hospitalized for tests that are routine for his age. ABC News later learned those tests discovered a lung infection and led to surgery to remove gallstones.

It is still not known which hospital is treating Mandela.  An article Friday in the local Times newspaper quotes staff at the main military hospital as saying Mandela’s doctors would not allow him to be treated at the main military hospital in Pretoria because the of the deteriorating quality of the hospital’s facilities.  

“We have huge staff shortages and backlogs in terms of critical medicines, shortages of oxygen supplies, and equipment that is either not working or aging,” a nurse told The Times anonymously.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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