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International royals

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej treated for medical condition

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has experienced a hard ten months of medical problems. The world’s longest reigning monarch was treated for hydrocephalus, or water on the brain and a chest infection. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is a build-up of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain.

Boston Mayor John F. Collins and Mary Collins with Queen Sirikit and King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1960.

Boston Mayor John F. Collins and Mary Collins with Queen Sirikit and King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1960.

In the second official statement since May on the king’s health, the 87-year-old was again admitted to hospital that month for suffering a fever and irregular blood pressure. The king hadn’t been out of hospital for but a few weeks. He spent the previous seven months recovering from gallbladder surgery late last year. Five weeks prior to his release, he experienced stomach inflammation.

The Royal Household Bureau carefully controls what news regarding their royal family is divulged for public consumption. Thailand’s lese-majeste law prohibits any citizen from maligning, insulting or making threats to the king, queen, regent or heir to the throne. Those who commit this crime are sentenced to hard jail time. Last week, two such individuals were handed down sentences of 28 years and 30 years respectively. The past decade has been one of strife and political crisis in Thailand. Many are anxious over who will succeed their current king. The climax of this political distress reached its peak when the military took power in May of last year in a political coup when Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–o-cha took power.

For the king’s latest hospital stay, the prime minister along with other high-ranking officials paid him a visit at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital. To show their support for their king they signed a guest book, wishing him a speedy recovery.

“Examinations showed fluid in the brain had increased, and a team of physicians asked permission to increase fluid drainage gradually of the brain and watch symptoms closely,” a statement issued by the palace said. Treatment would continue until levels stabilized. As of August 5th, fluid levels in the brain have returned to normal, proving the treatment effective.

Photo credit: City of Boston Archives via Flickr