Haiti: President diagnosed with pulmonary embolism

AP News
Posted: Apr 17, 2012 10:04 PM
Haiti: President diagnosed with pulmonary embolism

Haiti's President Michel Martelly was being treated for a blood clot in his lung caused by an earlier surgery, a presidential adviser said Tuesday.

Damian Merlo of the National Palace said Martelly caught a commercial flight to Florida Monday evening on the advice of a doctor after he experienced chest pains and is now recovering in a Miami hospital, Merlo said. Merlo declined to name the hospital for security reasons.

"He's in good health and resting," Merlo said by telephone.

The problem was a side effect of an operation two weeks ago on the 51-year-old president's right shoulder, Merlo said, and the surgery prompted doctors to advise him to cancel his weekend plans to attend the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Colombia.

Chest pains are a common symptom of a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lung, along with palpitations and difficulty in breathing. Severe cases can lead to sudden death.

The same day that Martelly was diagnosed with the blood clot, about 50 men in uniforms claiming to be former members of Haiti's disbanded army, some of whom carried guns, entered the premises of Parliament as deputies met to discuss the approval of a prime minister designate. It was not clear Tuesday if they physically entered the legislative building.

"These guys caused a panic," Deputy Johnson Dieujuste told station Radio Megastar, noting how some lawmakers quickly left the building. "The government needs to take action before this gets worse."

The men demanded to speak to lawmakers about what they said were government and police department's plans to expel them from old military camps in the capital and countryside. For several months, former army officers and their young followers have occupied the bases.

Despite the commotion, the men left without incident.

Martelly's medical trip comes several days after Dominican and Haitian ministers accused a retired Dominican military officer and a Haitian accomplice of trying to force Martelly from office. Officials from the neighboring countries have called the allegations absurd.


Associated Press reporter Evens Sanon contributed reporting.