By Nińa Calleja - Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (photo) was taken to Makati Medical Center (MMC) on Monday for examination after the dislocation of the titanium plate supporting her cervical spine, a condition that a doctor at the hospital described as life-threatening.

Staff at the hospital’s call center confirmed that Arroyo, now a Pampanga congresswoman, was admitted to the hospital after her scheduled checkup. They had no other information.

Radio reports said Arroyo, in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace, arrived at the hospital around 8 a.m.

The MMC call center released a two-page medical bulletin on Arroyo’s condition.

Dr. Robert Anastacio, a resident cardiologist at the hospital, advised Arroyo to undergo another CT scan to determine if there was a “further deterioration of [her] anterior cervical cage.”

“The presence of a displaced titanium plate along C2-C3 is a serious factor in the mechanism of breathing and subsequently blood circulation, which may lead to sudden death,” the medical bulletin quoted Anastacio as saying.

On Aug. 3, just days after the Pasay City Regional Trial Court allowed Arroyo to post bail in her electoral sabotage case, she suffered neck pains after choking on a piece of melon. She was rushed to Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) where she had been detained for nearly eight months.

Thin, dehydrated

“When I saw the patient during her last confinement, she was very thin and dehydrated with extreme anxiety after an episode of severe swallowing dysfunction, which resulted in choking,” Anastacio said.

Arroyo is having extreme difficulty in eating and swallowing even water, he said.

She also has a blocked artery in the heart, he said. “The former President is suffering from a 40-30 percent coronary artery obstruction of her proximal right coronary artery and left descending coronary artery,” he said.

Allies worried

Arroyo’s health is a cause of concern of her friends and allies in the House of Representatives, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Amelita Villarosa said.

“We’re just worried,” Villarosa said, but declined to comment further as it was a medical matter.


Arroyo had undergone cervical spine surgery to deal with severe pain in her upper limbs caused by compressed nerves in the neck.

Arroyo was also found to have hypoparathyroidism, a disorder in which the parathyroid glands fail to produce enough of the hormone that helps control calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D levels in the blood and bone.

Earlier this year, she contracted shingles, which is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. With a report from Leila B. Salaverria


Rep. Suarez: Gloria Arroyo advised to seek second opinion in New York ANDREO CALONZO, GMA News August 14, 2012 7:35pm 

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had been advised by her cardiologist to seek a second opinion on her health condition from a surgeon in New York City, one of her allies said Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said he will try to ask Arroyo’s lawyers to ask the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court to allow the former President to consult a neuro-cervical surgeon abroad, as recommended by her cardiologist, Dr. Robert Anastacio.

“We will appeal for the compassion of the court. We will appeal for the lifting of the order so that she can seek medical treatment abroad,” Suarez told reporters Tuesday.

The opposition leader added that Arroyo’s doctors found a lump in the former President’s breast, although he said he still had to compare findings made by doctors from the Makati Medical Center and those from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

“When we’re talking of a life-and-death situation, all the leeway should be given to a person who is ill,” he said.

Arroyo, who is suffering from bone mineral disorder, is restricted from traveling abroad due to a hold departure order issued by the Sandiganbayan in connection with a plunder case filed against her for alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

In a medical bulletin released Monday, Anastacio said the former President is at risk of “sudden death” because the displaced titanium implant in her spine is blocking her respiratory tract.

The ex-President underwent three surgical procedures last year at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City to correct a pinched nerve on her spine. The implant was placed on her neck during the first procedure, and had to be corrected during the second operation.

Late last month, Arroyo was released from hospital detention after a Pasay court allowed her to post a P1-million bail in relation to her poll sabotage case.

Last November, the former President also attempted to leave the country to seek medical attention, but was prevented by government officials at the airport. - BM, GMA News

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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