Palestinian PM expected to make full recovery

AP News
Posted: May 24, 2011 6:52 PM
Palestinian PM expected to make full recovery

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was released from a Texas hospital Tuesday and is expected to make a full recovery after a procedure to open a clogged artery.

Fayyad was admitted to Seton Medical Center Austin on Sunday for chest pains and was treated on Monday, his doctor said. He was released early Tuesday afternoon, said hospital spokeswoman Adrienne Lallo.

Dr. Kunjan Bhatt, a cardiologist who helped care for Fayyad, said he did not have a heart attack, as the prime minister's spokesman had suggested earlier. Fayyad should make a full recovery, Bhatt said.

The doctor said Fayyad, who has been prime minister since 2007, was hospitalized with chest pains on Sunday and felt more discomfort on Monday during a treadmill test. Doctors suspected he was experiencing the beginning of a possible heart attack and performed an artery-opening angioplasty, inserting a stent, Bhatt said.

"I expect him to make a full recovery and I expect his prognosis to be good," he said, adding that he has advised Fayyad, who was born in 1952 and is a heavy smoker, to quit smoking.

The prime minister's spokesman, Jamal Zakout, has said Fayyad was in Austin to attend the college graduation of his son, Khaled.

Bhatt said that doctors will examine Fayyad again on Thursday to make sure he's well enough to return home.

Fayyad was appointed prime minister after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired then-Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, following the violent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.

Fayyad, a political independent, is based in the West Bank, while Hamas continues to control Gaza. Fayyad could lose his job as a result of a recent reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement.

Fayyad has developed close ties with Western leaders, who would like him to stay on as prime minister. The Palestinians receive hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid every year, and Fayyad has won praise for his efforts to build a Palestinian state from the ground up.

While speaking to Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke briefly of Fayyad's surgery, saying, "I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation."


Associated Press Writer Amy Teibel in Washington contributed to this story.