Doctors still trying to diagnose Walesa's illness

AP News
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 7:57 AM
Doctors still trying to diagnose Walesa's illness

Former Polish President and Nobel laureate Lech Walesa could face a week in the hospital and doctors are still trying to determine what has caused a high fever and gastric problems, a hospital official said Friday.

The 67-year-old founder of the Solidarity anti-communist movement checked into a hospital in his hometown of Gdansk on Wednesday after he returned from Estonia feeling unwell.

The hospital's deputy head, Tadeusz Jedrzejczyk, said that Walesa was receiving medication for pain and fever and his condition was improving but that he was still undergoing tests that would identify the problem.

On Thursday, doctors ruled out the possibility that Walesa's ailment was tied to a pre-existing heart condition. They also said he was not infected with the E. coli bacteria that has killed 29 people in Germany and Sweden and sickened almost 3,000 others, a few also in Poland.

Jedrzejczyk said that Walesa was allowed to receive visits from family and close friends.

New pictures posted on his blog show him wrapped in a blanket on a wheelchair among doctors and reporters who spoke to him on Thursday. Another one shows him standing with nurses.

The sickness is affecting Walesa's busy schedule. He will miss a meeting with Italian trade unions in the town of Levico Terme scheduled for Saturday, an aide, Piotr Gulczynski, told The Associated Press.

Gulczynski hopes the former president will still be able to travel to Paris on June 17 for a meeting the following day with Iranian pro-democracy groups.

Since his 1990-95 term as Poland's first democratic-era president, Walesa has been traveling the world giving frequent lectures on Poland's peaceful political transition to democracy and to a market economy.

Walesa spearheaded the Solidarity freedom movement in the 1980s that helped peacefully bring down communism in Poland in 1989. That has won him the Nobel peace prize in 1983.