President Miloš Zeman is currently experiencing liver encephalopathy, Deník N said on Wednesday, referring to informed sources.
Neither the castle nor the Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) is publishing details about the condition of the hospitalized president. Senators, who fear that Zeman is currently unable to hold office, are also being kept in the dark.
Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček claims that health problems do not prevent the president from exercising his constitutional powers at the Central Military Hospital in Prague-Střešovice. Sources from Deník N say the opposite. Apparently, Zeman’s health is worse off, supposedly preventing him from fully fulfilling the function of president.
Referring to “very well-informed sources from around the president, government, and the medical community,” Zeman says he suffers from liver encephalopathy, a serious complication brought on by acute or chronic liver failure. It presents various mental and neurological symptoms and can be caused by cirrhosis of the liver.
“This is manifested, for example, by the fact that he is disoriented and says unrelated things,” said one source, describing the president’s state. According to another source, the president is communicating, but with difficulty.
At its mildest, hepatic encephalopathy causes confusion or sleep disorders. In severe cases, the patient can end up in a coma. Toxic substances in the brain cannot filter the diseased liver. However, treatment can reverse this condition.
The president was transferred to the ÚVN by a mobile intensive care unit on Sunday. Zeman was helpless and had to hold his head.
In a statement on Wednesday, the ÚVN reiterated that the hospital does not disclose patient information unless patients request it themselves, and assured that “the president and all patients of the ÚVN receive appropriate care.”
Hospital spokeswoman Jitka Zinke also noted that ÚVN is responsible for its statements, “but it cannot be held responsible for the statements of other entities, whether in the media or on social networks.”
The chairman of the Senate Security Committee, Pavel Fischer, announced on Wednesday that the Senate will initiate the transfer of the president’s powers, depending on updates of Miloš Zeman’s health condition he requested.
“In the event that it is necessary to transfer powers, it will be necessary to act quickly,” Fischer told ČTK after the committee meeting.
Fischer also commented on how the presidential office informs about the status of the highest constitutional official, saying that “the way in which we learn about the president’s health in late, inaccurate and misleading terms is incredible.” He also added that the president’s office failed and was not acting in the public interest.