Former president Carlos Saúl Menem was in an induced coma on Thursday after suffering kidney failure.
The 90-year-old former head of state, who led Argentina for a decade from 1989 to 1999, remains at the Los Arcos Sanatorium. He was admitted to the hospital on December 15 after suffering a urinary infection and increased heart rate. Doctors subsequently identified that the Peronist leader was suffering kidney failure, with Menem receiving dialysis before being put into an induced coma.
According to reports in local outlets, his condition remains delicate. Just days earlier, the former president’s personal doctor, Luis de la Fuente, had indicated that Menem’s condition was “stable.” He said the patient continues to be monitored for diabetes.
Family members say the La Rioja senator is “slowly” improving, but this latest setback indicates an extended spell in hospital may be on the cards. Relatives last week hit out at rumours circulating on social networks that he had passed away.
Health-wise, it’s been a difficult year for the former president, who celebrated his 90th birthday at the same clinic after being admitted with breathing difficulties. He was also hospitalised earlier in the year for pneumonia.
Menem is likely to miss the December 29 extraordinary session in the Senate, during which the upper house will vote on the government's historic bill to legalise abortion in Argentina. In 2018, the former president rejected an initiative to legalise the procedure, a position he was expected to repeat this time around.