PANAMA CITY – Former Panamanian strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega “is in serious condition and underwent surgery” on Tuesday for a “cerebral hemorrhage” that he suffered after being operated on this morning for a benign brain tumor, his lawyer and one of his daughters told EFE.
“He’s in surgery for the second time, being operated on for a cerebral hemorrhage that they discovered after he had come out of the operation” he underwent a few hours earlier, Sandra Noriega Sieiro said.
The daughter of the 83-year-old ex-general, who is under temporary house arrest, called her father’s condition “serious” and “delicate,” adding that he had been “in the operating room for three or four hours” where doctors were “trying to drain” blood from his brain.
“What they told us was that first they had to drain (the blood) so that later they could operate” again on the former strongman, who was the de facto leader of Panama from 1983-1989.
Meanwhile Ezra Angel, Noriega’s attorney, said that his client would undergo “an open-cranium operation, the second one” in recent hours.
“He had a complication,” Angel told EFE without giving further details.
Surgeons performed an operation to remove a brain tumor from Noriega, Sandra had told EFE earlier on Tuesday without providing details on her father’s condition.
“It’s over, but we don’t know anything yet about his condition,” Sandra had said.
Noriega was reported to be in “stable condition” after the nearly four-hour operation at Panama City’s Santo Tomas Hospital, the largest public hospital in the Central American country, media reports said.
“The surgery was successful. He’s in intensive care,” said Angel in a telephone conversation after the initial surgery shortly before midday on Tuesday, although he refused to provide further details other than to say that the patient’s prognosis was “good.”
Noriega, who was admitted to the hospital on Monday, was placed under temporary house arrest on Jan. 28 after his doctors said El Renacer prison, where he has been serving a 60-year sentence since his return to Panama in 2011, was inappropriate for pre- and post-surgical care.
The operation had initially been scheduled for Feb. 15, but physicians postponed it to await test results.
Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 until he was toppled by a US invasion in December 1989, was extradited to the Central American country on Dec. 11, 2011, after serving more than 20 years in American and French prisons on drug trafficking and money laundering convictions.