President Miloš Zeman said on Sunday that a member of his medical board, surgeon Pavel Pafko, who indicated in the media that Zeman had liver cirrhosis, knew nothing about his health. But Pafko got the information because he had studied the medical record of the head of state. However, in an interview with the daily Aktuálně.cz, he regretted having spoken publicly about cirrhosis in connection with Zeman.
President Milos Zeman told CNN Prima News that you never investigated him and you knew nothing about his health. What do you say to his words?
The president is telling the truth. I didn’t really examine him clinically, I just spoke to him. Before the doctor approaches the patient’s bed, he will study all available documentation. And so do I. I studied all the documents collected by the colleagues from the Central Military Hospital. And based on that, I decided that there was no need for surgery and therefore to check on the President. It’s not that I wasn’t informed about the president’s health.
However, some diagnosis can be made from the available information, and I fully believe it, even though the colleagues from the Central Military Hospital are very cautious. No doctor wants to miss anything while he treats the president and is watched over by ten million people, ready to blame you for your first mistake. Therefore, the available information, which I rely on in my reasoning, is sufficient for me. Unfortunately, on a radio program, I said that the President had cirrhosis of the liver.
Why do you regret your statement?
Because without asking the President what information we can release, we can’t talk about his state of health.
But doesn’t the public have the right to information about the health of its president?
I do not think so. Some time ago in Brno, someone explained that the president had prostate cancer (it was a former member of the Brno central district council in Svatopluk Bartík, who wrote on Facebook before the 2018 presidential election that President Zeman had cancer and would die within months, noted. red.). And even then, I think it’s inappropriate that even if she has cancer, she shouldn’t talk about it unless she wants to.
In the end, it turned out that the president didn’t have cancer and sued the person who made it (Bartík had to apologize to Zeman for the court’s decision and pay him compensation in the amount of 250 thousand crowns, notes. red.). I respect privacy. Imagine you got pregnant by accident and the neighbors started explaining that you had an abortion. The president is a person like you or me, he has dignity, so why doesn’t he decide which information about his health is published and which is not?
I understand that, on the other hand, it is the president who cannot fully dedicate himself to his current position. For example, he can’t travel overseas…
I don’t think so. He’s the president, he’s not in third grade, and he’s not stuffed with other passengers on a full train for hours on end. Of course, given his health, I would not recommend a long trip to Japan. I wouldn’t think that would make sense. But traveling through Europe is something else. You’re going to get on a plane today and you’ll be in the UK in two hours, for example.
So you think the current president could make a short trip to Europe?
I think yes. I saw him a few weeks ago when his condition had improved significantly. I don’t know how he is now, less than a month later, but above all, he is an adult and independent person who can tell himself if he wants to go abroad. It is wrong to tell the president what to do and what not to do.
What did you talk to the President about the last time you met?
I heard from people who saw the footage on TV that when he was taken from Lány to the hospital in Prague, he was not fully conscious. But when I talk to him, his consciousness is fine.
We talked for about a quarter of an hour. We discussed the importance of personality in history. He said personality in history matters, which I told him I had a different opinion. If the personality does not know where this nation is headed, then there is no hope of reaching the head of the nation.
The president argued with a British philosopher I don’t know. It’s a matter of opinion. From the way I know President Zeman, he is a very educated person who would put a lot of politicians in his pocket. He has memories like a lion.
What else do you say to the president?
We don’t talk much about anything else. He felt good, lying on the bed. Many simply see him as president and either support him or hate him. And they thought of him that way even as he lay in the hospital bed. I don’t think that’s true.
During my 58 years as a doctor, I have seen communist regime communists in hospital beds, very smart and stupid people. But I always see people who are mostly sick, no matter the job or the money. Doctors don’t talk about politics. He can comment on his health, and I say that as a member of the president’s medical board.
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