Politician Health Scares: Sarkozy And Scheffer Leave Hospitals
This past week, fatigue-related health incidents have caused hospitalizations of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Will politicians have to change their daily routines to allow for more 'down' time, or is exhaustion part of any modern politician's lifestyle?
Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 54, was released from Val-de-Grace Hospital on Monday after he collapsed Sunday in a park near the Versailles Palace outside Paris while jogging. The president was airlifted to the hospital where a battery of medical tests was performed on him to assess his health condition. Sarkozy was discharged early after his doctors said they found no underlying cardiological or neurological conditions that could have caused Sarkozy to collapse, according to the official statement from the president’s office.
The doctors said the collapse on Sunday was likely caused by lipothymia, a condition that develops when people faint as the result of intense physical exercise in hot weather. The Elysee Palace denies that Sarkozy has actually collapsed or lost consciousness during the incident.
“No medical treatment was prescribed,” the statement said. “He was asked to rest for a few days.”
Sarkozy has been told to rest for a few days and no further treatment has been prescribed, said his office.
Sarkozy was still expected to chair the regular Council of Ministers meeting Wednesday, before beginning a three-week long summer holiday on Thursday.
Sarkozy, who assumed the presidency in May 2007, is a fitness enthusiast, and is often seen jogging or cycling with aides and bodyguards.
Former French Presidents were not very open about the state of their health while in office, something Sarkozy vowed to change.
During his election campaign in 2007, Sarkozy had called for greater openness on presidential health. Francois Mitterrand kept secret a cancer diagnosis he received shortly after assuming office in 1981. The French public learned about former President Georges Pompidou’s bone marrow cancer only after he died of it, while in office, on April 2, 1974.
President’s wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy rushed to see Sarkozy in hospital Sunday afternoon. The two left hospital together on Monday. Today’s papers were insinuating that Bruni-Sarkozy has played a role in Sarkozy’s collapse. It is believed that the French President went on a strict diet to stay in good physical shape influenced by his wife, a former fashion model, 13 years his junior.
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, 61, has suffered a similar collapse on July 21 when he felt ill after the inauguration of a "NATO village" at a park in Brussels, Belgium to mark NATO's 60th anniversary. Upon hospitalization, it turned out that Scheffer had a blood clot in his heart, which was surgically removed. He was discharged from the hospital today. Scheffer's term as NATO's Secretary General ends on Friday, July 31. Anders Fogh Rasmussen will take over on August 3. Like Sarkozy, it seems Scheffer's illness was the result of a hectic work schedule.
De Hoop Scheffer was hospitalized on July 21 after he fainted. Doctors removed a blood clot from his heart and kept him in hospital for observation.
NATO spokesman James Appathurai said on the following day that de Hoop Scheffer was doing well in hospital. He quoted a doctor as saying that the NATO chief would be "better than new" after the treatment.