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Cuba's Fidel Castro has suffered debilitating stroke, doctor says

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 19th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and in a state of highly precarious health. According to Venezuelan doctor José Marquina, Castro has trouble feeding, speaking and recognizing people.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Marquina told the newspaper El Nuevo Herald that he has access to firsthand sources and information.

"He suffered an embolic stroke and recognizes absolutely no one," Marquina says. The doctor has also previously claimed to have direct information about the illness affecting President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

"The people with a condition of this nature have difficulty eating and, of course, they end up with total deficit in their neurologic capacities."

Castro's health had been speculated upon in social networks and the media. Rumors swirling around the former leader have intensified, to the point that word spread that he had died and that the Cuban government would shortly make an official announcement.

Castro was last seen in public last March, during the visit to Cuba of Pope Benedict XVI. Castro has not written his opinion columns, called "Reflections," since June. In addition, he did not send any message or congratulation to Chávez for his recent election victory.

Castro remains in his home in El Laguito, Havana, receiving constant and specialized medical care, Marquina said. Cuban authorities and Castro's family are working to keep him alive and far from public view, the doctor said.

"He could last weeks like that, but what I can say is that we'll never again see him in public," Marquina said in a telephone interview from Naples.

Marquina said that Castro is not receiving therapy to improve his condition because his neurological state does not allow it. Marquina described Castro's condition as "very close to a neuro-vegetative state."

"He is not receiving artificial respiration and is not connected to tubes, as some have said. What's probably true is that Castro is being fed through nasogastric tubes," Marquina said.

Patients with this type of clinical picture are usually felled by respiratory complications and irreversible infections. According to Marquina, the decline in Castro's health compelled Hugo Chávez to fly to Havana this week in order to inquire about his ally's condition.

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