A smiling French President Nicolas Sarkozy left a Paris military hospital yesterday after overnight tests gave him a clean bill of health despite his collapse while jogging the day before.
Sarkozy left the Val de Grace hospital hand in hand with his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, then shook the hands of medical staff and waved to journalists before getting into his official car and being driven off.
Separately, his office issued a statement confirming that doctors had found no sign of heart or neurological trouble and had diagnosed him as having suffered a minor fainting episode caused by fatigue.
“The diagnosis is thus one of a near-syncope caused by sustained effort during hot weather, without loss of consciousness, in the context of fatigue linked to a heavy workload,” the Elysee Palace said.
Doctors have recommended that the 54-year-old leader rest, so he has postponed a visit planned for today to the Mont Saint Michel abbey in Normandy but will chair tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting as planned, the statement said.
Sarkozy collapsed on Sunday while jogging in the wooded parkland around the Palace of Versailles just outside Paris and was immediately taken by helicopter to Val de Grace, which traditionally treats French presidents.
Bruni-Sarkozy raced to the scene of the incident on a police motorbike, a witness said and she was at Sarkozy’s hospital bedside.
His office denied the president had lost consciousness, despite earlier reports that he had.
Sarkozy, an avid jogger and cyclist, was forced to interrupt his run and “lie down with the help of an aide,” the statement said.
Piotr Moszynski, a journalist, told France Info radio that he saw the French leader running with his bodyguards and that Sarkozy appeared sluggish.
“He looked really tired and was almost dragging his feet,” Moszynski said. “I said to myself ‘if he wants to show off, it wasn’t very effective.’”
Officials in Sarkozy’s office played down the incident, which supporters blamed on his notoriously hyperactive schedule. He last underwent a medical examination on July 3, when his cardiovascular and blood tests were normal, the Elysee’s medical service said.
During his presidential campaign, Sarkozy pushed for greater transparency on presidential health bulletins, but his short hospital stay for a throat problem in 2007 was revealed only three months later. Previous presidents regularly concealed their health problems.
The public learned that former president Georges Pompidou had bone marrow cancer only after he died of it while in office on April 2, 1974. Francois Mitterrand, who died of prostate cancer just months after leaving office, ordered his doctor to systematically falsify his health bulletins for 11 years.