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International royals

Thai King hospitalsed for a year, has a swollen lung

After days of speculation surrounding his health, the Royal Household Bureau in Thailand has announced that King Bhumibol Adulyadej is being treated for swollen lung and knees.

A statement released on Saturday said that the 88-year-old monarch developed a fever, accompanied with an increase in pulse rate and a drop in blood pressure. A pursuing examination revealed plenty of phlegm and swelling in both of his knees.

Signs of mild inflammation in his chest were originally detected in an X-ray on 12 May, and were confirmed upon conducting a blood test the following day, which prompted doctors to prescribe him antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

The statement added that the monarch will continue to be given other medicines, along with oxygen therapy and physical rehabilitation.

King Bhumibol, who is the world’s longest-serving monarch, has been constantly in and out of hospital for a year, during which he was diagnosed with several ailments. He was last seen in public on 11 January, when he visited the Chitralada Palace in the Thai capital Bangkok for what was said to be a ‘change in atmosphere.’

The king, whose official title is Rama IX, was previously treated for lung infections in 2009 and 2013. He was taken to the Siriraj Hospital in May 2015 for the same reason. Although he is currently recovering from another recurrence, worries remain over his ability to resume normal life.

His health has overshadowed two years of a political crisis in Thailand, with the military effectively in power after staging a coup in 2014- the 16th such coup in Bhumibol’s seven-decade reign. The king remains to be seen as a pillar of stability across the country.

Fears over succession are growing bigger in the country, particularly as Maha Vajiralongkorn, the king’s only son and heir apparent to the throne, doesn’t enjoy much popularity among the public.