Friday, 2 October 2009

The King showing early signs of recovery...

(AP photo)

Thailand's 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej spent his 14th day in a Bangkok hospital today with what the palace obliquely called a second bout of low fever and inflammation in his lungs, that finally appears to be responding to treatment.

King Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving monarch, was admitted to Bangkok's Siriraj hospital on 19th Sept. for fever, fatigue and lack of appetite three days after a routine check-up. It is his longest hospital stay since October 2007. Since his admission, the palace has released almost daily updates on his condition without saying what is causing the symptoms.

After being hospitalised for four days, the king's temperature returned to normal, but the fever returned several days later, according to the palace. "His overall condition has improved and his medication can be reduced" the Royal Household Bureau said in its latest statement. The brief statement said that a medical team would continue to give the king a reduced number of antibiotics and nutrients intravenously as it has since his arrival, and continue with physical therapy.

Elephants and well-wishers take part in a Buddhist prayer for the health of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej outside Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok yesterday (Reuters photo)

The king is regarded by his people as a semi-divine source of unity and stability in a country beset by four years of political turmoil that has been marked by several changes in government and frequent mass street protests.
Bhumibol is a constitutional king with no formal political role, but he has repeatedly brought calm in times of turbulence and is considered the country's moral authority and a unifying figure.

A mahout astride his elephant participates in prayers for the King outside the hospital (Reuters photo)

Thousands of well-wishers have crowded outside Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital and events have been organized around the country in honor of the king. The king's health is an extremely sensitive topic in Thailand because of concerns that the succession may not go smoothly. The heir apparent, his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not yet have the stature or moral authority of his father. He has reigned through a score of governments, democratic and dictatorial. In his six decades on the throne, he has taken an especially active role in rural development and is respected for his dedication to helping the country's poor.

Young well-wishers pray for the King's return to good health outside the hospital (Reuters photo)

Bhumibol is revered by most Thais, but in recent years the palace has come in for unprecedented, though usually discreet, criticism because of allegations that the king's advisers interfered in politics, including playing a part in inspiring a 2006 military coup that ousted a democratically elected government. Open discussion of the matter is barred by strict lese majeste laws that make criticism of the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

We join our staff and all loyal Thais in praying for the speedy recovery of the King

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