Tuesday, December 20, 2011

French doctor confirms Kim had stroke in 2008

AP)  PARIS — A French neurosurgeon confirmed Monday that Kim Jong Il had a debilitating stroke in 2008, and described secretly treating the reclusive dictator while the North Korean public and world remained unaware of his condition.

Dr. Francois-Xavier Roux — speaking to The Associated Press on Monday — described Kim's concerns for his future, the challenge of working under constant surveillance, and Korean doctors' fears of making final decisions about how to save their supreme leader.

North Korean state media announced Monday that Kim had died Saturday at age 69.

Roux, the chief of neurosurgery at Sainte Anne Hospital in Paris, said he was urgently flown to North Korea in August 2008 to examine Kim who was unconscious and "in a bad way" and in intensive care at Pyongyang's Red Cross Hospital, in the communist nation's capital.

The two-month trip and medical exam gave Roux unparalleled access for a Westerner to the North Korean regime and an intimate view of its enigmatic, weakened chief.

North Korean officials first contacted Roux by phone in 1993 after Kim suffered a "small head injury following a horse-riding accident," the doctor said, adding that he never understood why they had sought him out.

And then, three years ago, North Korea contacted Roux again after Kim suffered the stroke — never formally acknowledged by authorities. This time officials arranged for the doctor to come to Pyongyang with a few other French doctors.....   Next