Tags: Thailand | politics | royals | health

Revered Thai King 'Improving' After Gall Bladder Surgery

Monday, 06 October 2014 07:11 AM

Thailand's revered 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej has had his gall bladder removed, the palace said Monday, two days after he was rushed to hospital sparking fears for his health in the politically turbulent nation.

Bhumibol, who is the world's longest-serving monarch but has suffered from numerous ailments in recent years, is treated as a near-deity in Thailand and his health is a subject of great public concern.

The nation is beset by anxiety over the future once Bhumibol's more-than six decade reign comes to an end.

The king was driven from his coastal palace to Bangkok's Siriraj hospital with a fever on Friday evening.

Tests over the weekend found he had a swollen gall bladder, prompting the operation to remove the organ late Sunday, the Royal Household Bureau said in a statement.

Doctors were "satisfied" with the surgery and the king's condition was "improving" early Monday, the statement added.

"His majesty's heartbeat has slowed down... his blood pressure is in the normal range and his temperature is lower," it said.

Surgery to remove the gall bladder is common and patients tend to recovery quickly from the operation.

Bhumibol, who is officially King Rama IX, left the Siriraj last month after a stay of almost six weeks for a check-up.

He lived in the same hospital for nearly four years after being admitted with respiratory problems in 2009 -- but there was no explanation from the palace over his prolonged stay.



As a constitutional monarch the king has no official political role, but Thais see him as a unifying figure and a moral force during a long reign that has been flecked by political turmoil.

In August he formally endorsed the kingdom's new prime minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha -- who seized power from the elected administration on May 22 as head of the army, shortly after Yingluck Shinawatra was booted out off office by a controversial court ruling.

Prayut led his military-stacked cabinet to the hospital on Monday morning to sign a book of well wishing for the monarch.

"We have heard good news from the medical team that his majesty has strengthened," Prayut told reporters later.

Yingluck also visited the hospital, prostrating herself in front of a large portrait of the monarch, as scores of well-wishers waited their turn, many holding their own portraits of the king.

Yingluck's billionaire brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled as premier in a 2006 coup, sits at the epicentre of the festering rupture in Thai politics and society.

He is adored by many among the north and northeastern rural poor and urban working class for keeping pace with their burgeoning social and economic aspirations with nearly-free healthcare, cash to kick-start small village businesses and help for hard up rice farmers.

But he is equally loathed by the Bangkok-based establishment -- including key sections of the military and judiciary -- and its arch-royalist allies in the south.

Parties led by or aligned to Thaksin have won every election since 2001, and a desire among the royalist elite to erase his influence as the succession looms is seen by analysts as pivotal to understanding the crisis.

Thailand's king is protected by one of the world's toughest royal defamation laws -- anyone convicted of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent faces up to 15 years in prison on each count.

Rights groups have decried an apparent surge in the number of lese majeste charges since the May coup.

Bhumibol was born on December 5, 1927 in the United States and came to the throne aged 18 in 1946.

After finishing his studies in Switzerland he was officially crowned in 1950.


© AFP 2020

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Thailand's revered 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej has had his gall bladder removed, the palace said Monday, two days after he was rushed to hospital sparking fears for his health in the politically turbulent nation.Bhumibol, who is the world's longest-serving monarch...
Thailand, politics, royals, health
Monday, 06 October 2014 07:11 AM
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