Doctors’ silence over king feeds rumours

RIYADH (AFP) — Saudi Arabia moved again on Monday to reassure the world over the health of King Fahd, but the absence of any medical report after four days in hospital is causing rumours about the gravity of his condition.
“Stable and reassuring” — the two words have been repeated mantra-like by top Saudi officials over the past days to describe the condition of the wheelchair-bound king but without the slightest detail over his illness.

“The medical examinations have shown that his health is stable and reassuring,” was the statement issued by Crown Prince Abdullah, for years already de-facto ruler of the kingdom, at Monday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

The official SPA news agency said the crown prince “reassured everyone over the health of the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Fahd Ben Abdul Aziz.”

The statement was the fourth official comment on the health of King Fahd since he was admitted to Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital on Friday evening.

Medical sources did reveal at the time that the decision to take the king to hospital was made as he was suffering from a high fever and a lung infection.

The previous statement about the health of the king — who has delegated day-to-day rule to Abdullah since suffering a massive heart attack in November 1995 — came on Sunday from Interior Minister Prince Nayef.

“Thanks to God, his health is in (a state of) constant improvement,” he said.

On Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal became the first official to break the silence on the condition of Fahd, who is believed to be 84 years old.

“His condition is stable … The results of medical tests make us reassured,” Prince Saud said.

Later that day, the royal court issued a statement saying Fahd’s condition was “stable and reassuring” — the same two adjectives employed by Abdullah on Monday.

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