Brazilian President is hospitalised with severe hiccups

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been transferred to a hospital in Sao Paulo for tests on a potentially obstructed intestine, his office said on Wednesday, after the far-right leader endured a 10-day bout of chronic hiccups. The 66-year-old had been complaining publicly about the hiccups following surgery on a dental implant on July 3.

Local media outlet G1 reported that Bolsonaro had been admitted for unspecified medical testing after feeling abdominal pains during the early hours of Wednesday. In the many recent presidential live streams, Bolsonaro’s hiccuping is evident and he has prefaced some talks with acknowledgment of his hiccuping and disrupted speech. In a national address on social media last Thursday, Bolsonaro struggled to express himself at one point, and said he had been suffering from hiccups for a week. The Vila Nova Star hospital in Sao Paulo, where Bolsonaro is now warded, said late on Wednesday that the president would remain in hospital “initially under conservative management” following reports that he would need emergency surgery. Shortly after news of his transfer to Sao Paulo, Bolsonaro posted on his Facebook page a photo of himself smiling with his eyes closed and lying in a hospital bed covered in sensors and cables.

Bolsonaro’s health has been an issue for much of his presidency, after he was stabbed in the intestines on the campaign trail in 2018 and nearly died. The attack has required multiple follow-up operations. Pro-Bolsonaro federal legislator Bia Kicis wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that Bolsonaro’s hospitalisation was “a consequence of the 2018 knifing”.