Hu refuses to be drawn on health speculation

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 - Page 3

Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) was hospitalized earlier this month for treatment of a clogged artery, a media report said yesterday, a day after the mayor declined to comment on speculation over his health.

The 65-year-old former foreign minister and one-time star of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) “had a heart-related operation” during a five-day hospitalization, the United Daily News reported, without giving the source of its information.

The operation was successful and the mayor was discharged on Monday last week, the paper said. The report gave no specifics about Hu’s condition, saying only that it was caused by an arterial blockage.

The news report came a day after Hu, who had a minor stroke 11 years ago, refused to be drawn on recent rumors that he was once again experiencing health problems.

During a Buddhist prayer gathering in Taichung on Sunday, the mayor appeared to be in good spirits and in good health.

Later yesterday, Cheng Hsin General Hospital in Taipei said in a statement that Hu underwent coronary artery bypass surgery.

The operation was performed on Feb. 5 and Hu was discharged six days after the surgery, setting a record in the process, it said, adding that the mayor’s heart was now much healthier than before the operation.

Normally it would take two weeks before a bypass patient was well enough to be discharged, the hospital said. In all, six grafts were made to bypass blockages in Hu’s arteries, it said.

The hospital attributed Hu’s speedy recovery to his otherwise healthy condition, but warned that he still must get plenty of rest in the near term.

Earlier in the day, Hu told reporters that he felt “OK” but refused to confirm press reports about the operation.

Responding to reporters’ questions, the mayor said there was no need for an announcement or explanation as his health condition would not affect future plans or elections, but some of his scheduled stops yesterday were still canceled at short notice.

Commenting on the cancellations, Hu said he “could not carry on like before” and would have to rest every one or two weeks.