President Lula is admitted to the hospital to have a hip replacement | International

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President Lula during a public event on the 22nd in Brasilia.ADRIANO MACHADO (REUTERS)

This Friday morning, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 77, was admitted to a hospital in Brasilia for scheduled surgery. The doctors are going to place a prosthesis in his right hip because he suffers from advanced osteoarthritis that has caused him intense pain since the electoral campaign, more than a year ago. The intervention is performed under general anesthesia, and is estimated to last about two or three hours. However, the president has not delegated power to his vice president, Geraldo Alckmin. This is the second surgery he has undergone since he won the election. Last November, he had a benign nodule removed from his throat.

Lula enjoys good health in general considering his age and that he was already a septuagenarian when he spent a year and a half in prison. Furthermore, in 2011, shortly after leaving power after his second term, he suffered from laryngeal cancer that forced him to undergo harsh sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The voice, which is one of his hallmarks, is also one of his weak points.

Lula will undergo surgery at the headquarters in Brasilia of the private hospital center that has been taking care of his health for years. Part of the Syrian-Lebanese doctors who will treat him during the operation and in the postoperative period traveled from São Paulo to the capital that Thursday. The politician has used a mask at all public events in recent days to prevent an untimely contagion from frustrating the intervention.

When he leaves the operating room, he will be transferred to an intensive care unit where it is expected that after a few hours he will be able to use a walker for the first time. The forecast is that he will be discharged next Tuesday. And then, a recovery of about three weeks in his official residence, the Alvorada Palace.

President Lula's delegation arrives this Friday morning at the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital in Brasilia where the politician will undergo hip surgery.
President Lula's delegation arrives this Friday morning at the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital in Brasilia where the politician will undergo hip surgery. ADRIANO MACHADO (REUTERS)

It was Lula himself who carefully chose the date of this new surgical intervention, whose recovery requires a certain amount of rest incompatible with the intense agenda he designed for the beginning of his third term. The international trips that have marked these months are over for a season. He has traveled more abroad than within Brazilian borders. When this month he took him to New York to participate in the United Nations General Assembly, he had to change his schedule due to pain. He reduced travel to a minimum and received visitors at the hotel.

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“I will have to be a little careful because the operation seems simple but physiotherapy and treatment are essential for recovery,” the veteran politician explained in an interview last Tuesday. The plan is for him to only resume his international agenda at the end of November, when he is scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the Cop28 climate summit.

The president has also admitted these days that he considered having surgery right after his electoral victory but that he rejected the idea: “I have been suffering from this pain since August.” He revealed that, despite this, at campaign rallies he would jump on stage because he had to encourage people. And he confessed why he decided to postpone entering the operating room until now: "I thought that if I had surgery right after the elections, people would say 'Lula is old, he won the elections and he is already hospitalized.'"

During the next few weeks Lula, who will leave the hospital in a wheelchair, will have to use a walker and then a crutch. But in statements that have caused some controversy, she announced that her official photographer, Ricardo Stckert, the man who has shaped her public image for years, will not take images of him with any of those devices. “You are not going to see me with a walker or crutches, you are always going to see me handsome, as if I had not even had surgery,” he said in the weekly interview in which he boasts of his achievements. These words came back against him like a boomerang in the form of criticism from entities that work for the integration of the disabled.

Among those upset, Ivan Baron, a young activist with cerebral palsy as a result of meningitis who, dressed in an elegant suit and leaning on his cane, accompanied Lula along with other Brazilian citizens at the symbolic moment of entering the presidential palace on January 1. , after taking possession. Baron responded on It implies that our bodies are flawed or incomplete.” He added that these types of statements reinforce prejudices.

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