The mystery in Cuba continues. Yesterday the Cuban authorities released photographs and a statement from Cuban leader Fidel Castro on the eve of his eightieth birthday. Our continuing conjecture about what is really going on…
From the photographs (assuming they are real and not doctored fakes)
As we suspected, he is not dead.
He is also not intubated or on a breathing machine at the time of the photos. It also appears that he does not have or has not had a tracheostomy, which is a hole fashioned into the trachea or windpipe for long-term ventilator use. At the time of the photos he was not using any supplemental oxygen, although as it takes 60 seconds for most patients to desaturate, any supplemental oxygen delivered through nose prongs could have easily been removed for the photos. It does not look as if he is in danger of dying in the next several days.
He appears to be awake but looks very drawn and tired and thin. It could qualify for cachexia, which is the wasting syndrome that patients get with cancer. It could also be associated with the normal weight loss (tissue catabolism) that patients undergo with any major surgery for any cause.
He is either sitting or reclining in the four photos and not standing. the fact that he is not walking or ambulating continues to be very curious to me. It would seem to me that if they could have somehow gotten him out of bed to stand, even for a few moments to take a photo or to have him wave from a balcony, they would have. One must consider whether he is too incapacitated to stand or if he has a functional problem with his legs.
He is not smiling. This is what makes me really think he is really sick. On his eighieth birthday when he opens his statement to his countrymen that “I feel very happy…” he is not able to manage even a glimmer of a smile??
Musings:b> he fails what physicians call the “foot of the bed test”. I have unfortunately seen it all too often when patients are dying and have lost their spark of vitality, their sense of optimism and connectedness with life. Patients particularly with end-stage cancer have (for lack of a better term) a way of turning inward as they contemplate their mortality and their approaching death. Understandably, most people are very subdued.
From the statement
“For all those who care about my health, I promise to fight for it.”
If he had a curable condition, why would it not be something like, “I am regaining my health after my surgery and will be back at work soon.” When a person says they are fighting a disease or for their health it is usually a euphemism for an expected bad outcome.
“To say that the objective stability has considerably improved is not making up a lie.”
This seems to indicate that he made it through his surgery and is stable from a surgical point, which is confirmed from the photo’s – that is he is awake and not on a breathing machine, etc.
“To affirm that the recovery time will take a short time and that there is no risk would be absolutely incorrect.”
Okay, if it is not metastatic cancer, why would the recovery time not be short and what would the risk be? He is awake and sitting up and again, not on a breathing machine. In many American hospitals (cancer or no cancer) he would be a day or two away from being discharged. He is clearly communicating that he will not be appearing soon (or probably ever).
“I ask you all to be optimistic, and at the same time to be ready to face any adverse news.”
In the US when a patient is about to die, we tell the family to “get ready for the sad news.”
Conclusion: I still believe that Castro’s diagnosis is some type of metastatic intraabdominal cancer. It just seems to me that if it was at all possible they would have wheeled him onto a balcony for at least a few seconds of a live appearance. When Pope John Paul II was really just hours from death he appeared at the window of his room. The photos from Havanna were intended, of course, to portray that Castro is not as sick as he probably is. Or maybe Castro just doesn’t care anymore if he makes a live appearance or not. I will bet my house that we never see him alive again.
Copyright 2006 Insidesurgery.com
The photos are unreliable to base a diagnosis on. The newspaper shown in the photo is faked – the real Granma newspaper yesterday had a bright red headline and a red logo, not black as shown in the photo.
Did they make a special all-black newspaper for Fidel?
It was PhotoShopped on. The size of the headline didn’t match that of the real Granma paper when overlaid on the Castro photo.
Check http://sites/insidesurgery.com/files.cigarenvy.com/20… for the photos and complete information.
If the photos were faked, and they definitely were, what does that say about the probable condition of Fidel Castro?
cambridge people says
Juan Pirindingo says
Could Fidel Castro had some kind of stroke?
I don’t think so,metastatic abdominal cancer,requiere a primitive cancer long ago,so caquexia,etc are part of the frame and Castro was till the last of july,so well,on travelling to Argentina,make great displacement in that country,he gave long speeches and then he cameback to Cuba and again move to Bayamo,and make long speeches,on the other hand colon cancer,primitive or metastatic,often bleed at the final stage,it seems to mt that castro had a sort of diverticulosis of his colon maybe with
poliposis,and the surgery in 80 years old man,with other medical problems(Parkinson,etc) is always a great problem,let me get this ahead,this type of urgent surgery in elderly just 2 out 4 survives the surgery and the recovery is in the survival unclear and difficult
Tom TB says
Doc, no one will win your house. In my opinion as an EMT, he suffered a stroke, along with all his other ailments. How sweet it is; that we will remember his snarling at a reporter as his last public appearance!
Henry Gomez says
Since you made this post a rather lengthy videotape of Castro alive with Hugo Chavez has been made public. I was wondering what your thoughts on it are. The video can be seen at http://sites/insidesurgery.com/files.youtube.com/watc…
In the video, as in the photos, he is not getting oxygen. He only speaks briefly and with little energy. The video is certainly legit since Chavez is talking about how he found out about castro’s illness while he was in Vietnam (which is true, he was in Vietnam when the announcement of the transfer of power was made).
Since the video was made public a local journalist in Miami is reporting that three independent sources outside of Cuba say that he has some cancer in his intestinal tract. That the doctors are weighing whether to give him Chemo. Of course he’s 80 and he’s also fond of his hair and beard. One can’t dismiss how vain he is and he may refuse Chemo for that reason.
if he is dead or not that is not the question, fortunally he will be pretty soon, so let us pray for his death….happy castro’s death!!!!!
Tomas Estrada-Palma says
Castro had a stroke for sure! You all will know I am absolutely correct in the near future.
Joseph Buff says
What do you think now. Over six weeks after the operation and still he’s confined to a room, and he missed the large UN conference in Havana. Is it possible he’s had some type of a transplant??
[email protected] says
Dear Doctora Marcucci:
Thank you for taking on this interesting theme.
Although not a Doctor I regularly look at your web page searching for more on Castro.
Do you have a mailing list where you could include my email for anything FIDEL CASTRO related you may write in the future? If so pls do.
Thank you kindly…