Saudi King Heads to US for Medical Treatment

Abdullah said to be 'in stable condition'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2010 9:10 AM CST
In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, King Abdullah, center, of Saudi Arabia arrives to his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Nov. 19, 2010.   ((AP Photo/Saudi Press Agency))
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(Newser) – Saudi Arabia's 86-year-old King Abdullah left home for the United States today to receive treatment for a blood clot and slipped disc. Saudi authorities have been unusually open in going public with the king's condition, apparently in an effort to prevent any speculation and reassure allies. Personal issues within the royal family are often kept under strict wraps.

Photos showed the king at the airport, seated in a plush chair on the tarmac, an IV catheter clearly inserted in the back of his hand. Pictures in newspapers over recent days have shown the king being pushed in a wheelchair—though still looking hardy. “I assure everyone that the king is in stable condition,” the health minister said yesterday. Abdullah handed over duties to the crown prince, his 85-year-old half-brother, who has had medical issues of his own, during his absence.

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