Thailand: King’s ‘Unstable’ Medical Condition Leaves Thais on Edge

BenarNews staff
2016.10.10
Washington
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161010-TH-royalists-620.jpg Thai royalists hold up a portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the 70th anniversary of his accession to the throne, June 9, 2016.
BenarNews

Thais on Monday were praying for the recovery of King Bhumibol Adulyadej following an announcement from the royal palace that his frail health had taken a bad turn and his condition was “unstable.”

Thailand’s stock market reacted negatively to the news by taking a 3.15 percent hit on Monday, with the Thai baht declining to a two-month low of 35.08 against the U.S. dollar, according to media reports.

On Sunday the Bureau of the Royal Household issued a statement announcing that the condition of the world’s longest-reigning living monarch had deteriorated following a medical procedure the day before to purify the 88-year-old Bhumibol’s blood and change a tube for draining excess cerebrospinal fluid.

“The medical team closely monitors the condition and provides him with treatment because the overall condition is unstable,” the statement said.

Sunday’s announcement was highly unusual because it was the first time in many months that the bureau that manages Thailand’s royal affairs did not speak positively about the king’s health following a medical procedure.

The king, who has been in frail health for the past few years, has not been seen in public for almost a year and a series of recent medical procedures on him in recent months have left Thais on tenterhooks. In June, Thailand celebrated the 70th anniversary of Bhumibol’s accession to the throne.

“May the King recover as soon as possible. I offer all my good deeds to the King and I wish [that] all illness and dangers will be eliminated from him and the royal family. Long live the King,” Thai citizen Kotchamon Janthanakeeri said Monday in a message posted on her Facebook page dedicated to Princess Chulaporn, the youngest of Bhumibol’s four children.

Nervous market

The statement from the Bureau of the Royal Household said the king was admitted to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok on Saturday for a long-term haemodialysis to purify his blood.

“[On Saturday] the medical team asked for royal permission to unclog a vein in preparation for long-term haemodialysis and changed the apparatus related to the spinal cord, between 14:00 to 16:40 hours,” the statement said.

“The King’s blood pressure turned low occasionally, so that the medical team provided him with medicines and a ventilator to help [his] breathing to keep blood pressure normal. Until 03:00 hours on Sunday, the pulse became quicker,” the statement added.

The statement noted that an echocardiograph showed less blood flowing to the left atrium due high blood pressure in the lungs. The king’s doctors treated him with drugs until 3 p.m. Sunday, when his pulse and blood pressure improved, it said.

The bureau did not issue any updates on Monday.

The king’s health is a sensitive topic in Thailand, where many Thais are nervous about talking about it because of the country’s strict laws against royal defamation. The so-called Lese-Majeste law makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir to the throne or regent.

On Monday, the Thai stock exchange responded nervously and closed out the day of trading by falling 47.32 points, equal to a loss of 3.15 percent in volume.

“The index plunged for some 50 points is due to domestic factor but I would not want investors to get panicky,” Padol Wanarat, director of the analysis section of Maybank Kim Eng Securities, told local media.

“There is only one factor that sent to index sinking on Monday,” a Thai stock analyst who asked not to be identified told BenarNews, referring to the ailing king.

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