The former president of the Generalitat Jordi Pujol is "under observation, conscious and under the effects of sedative medication" in the stroke unit of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona after undergoing "successful" surgery last night to remove a thrombus of a cerebral artery that had caused an ischemic stroke, that is, due to a lack of blood supply to the brain, which affected his speech, according to the medical team that has treated him in recent hours.
The doctors, who have given a press conference at the Barcelona hospital, see it as "premature" to talk about the consequences that the cerebrovascular accident may have left on their patient and believe that they must wait between 24 and 48 hours to determine them. In any case, except for complications, the doctors do not fear for the life of the former president, who is surrounded by his family, whose members he has been able to recognize this morning.
Albert Lleó, head of neurology at the center, and the rest of the team have given details of what happened in the last few hours. Thus, they have explained that Pujol was admitted yesterday at five in the afternoon to the emergency service of the Hospital de Sant Pau for "assessment and treatment of a stroke" that the Hospital of Barcelona could already confirm previously. The episode, as they have added, began at 11 in the morning with symptoms of speech disturbance due to lack of cerebral blood flow due to the obstruction of an intracranial artery, specifically the external middle cerebral artery.
As the symptoms persisted, it was determined that Pujol could be a candidate for endovascular treatment, that is, proceeding to mechanical extraction by aspiration of the thrombus through a puncture via the femoral artery (located in the thigh) that was performed last night and ended successfully in the sense that the thrombus could be extracted and the artery recanalized. Specialists have highlighted the promptness of stroke detection as the key to carrying out the intervention successfully and the patient's previous good condition, "functional and cognitive" despite age. In any case, they have explained that the president's family agreed to carry out the intervention and assumed the risks involved.
The doctors have also explained that Pujol will undergo a CT scan today that will show the area that may be affected and have been cautious regarding the time of hospital admission, which will depend on his evolution, that is, if they are needed more or less tests or if any complications occur. In any case, they estimate that the patient will have to stay in the hospital between three and seven days.
The doctors have insisted on the difficulty of making an exact assessment of the impact on the president's speech at this time since he is under the effects of sedative medication and have recognized that a patient of that age, 92 years old, is more fragile and that for this reason there may be complications that they have not seen so far.
This morning, Pujol's family doctor, Jaume Padrós, wanted to be cautious but explained that the president "has recovered part of the affected part": he is awake, has been able to speak, is oriented and has recognized people, according to explained in declarations to RAC1.
The doctor explained that it all started yesterday morning when Pujol was reading and realized that he could not express what he was reading. "He suffered from aphasia, a typical symptom of these accidents."
"In the next few hours we will see how it evolves," explained Padrós. In this sense, -he said- the intervention has been "a success" but now it will be necessary to see "how it recovers". "The most critical step has been passed," he said. However, Padrós has acknowledged that it is still early to assess whether the condition will leave sequels in speech or in other intellectual capacities of the president.
Pujol completely abandoned political life in 2014 after acknowledging that he had hidden part of an inheritance for 34 years in Andorra, the origin of which is being investigated by justice; In addition, his children have been involved in cases of alleged corruption.
Pujol, 92, attended a public event for the last time last Thursday. It was the presentation of the documentary 'Tarradellas, govern d'unitat', in which he participates with the testimony of him having been part of the first Catalan government after the dictatorship, along with other relevant personalities of the time.
Also last Saturday he gave his last interview, on Catalunya Ràdio, in which he claimed to have death "very present" although he pointed out that it was not an "obsession". He was also, as on other occasions, concerned about his legacy: "I have done things well done and others that do not leave me satisfied," said the former Catalan president who governed the Generalitat between 1980 and 2003.
Precisely in the same interview granted to the program El suplement on the occasion of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the former president spoke about his family. Recalling that Elizabeth II had "some problem with the family", he pointed out that this also happened to him, although he indicated that it was a "different" matter. The former president of the Generalitat said that he was "a Catalan patriot" and, among other things, thought that "it was good to have children."
"It has been - he added - an act of optimism for me and my wife, it is an act of optimism, of faith, in one's own country, in oneself, in Catalonia", although he was sympathetic to those who decide to have only one child " Because it's very difficult".
On the current political situation, the former president of the Generalitat considered that Catalonia "is experiencing a moment of important crisis" but he believed that it is "a country that has things to offer, to say and to defend", of which to feel proud.