LIMA, Peru — Argentina president Cristina Kirchner’s cancer surgery today has been declared a success.
Kirchner, 58, was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma last month, although her doctors believed they had detected the disease in the early stages and predicted a full recovery.
Today, she went under general anesthesia at Buenos Aires’ Austral Hospital in what doctors anticipated would be a single, simple procedure to remove all cancerous tissue.
After the surgery, the hospital released a statement saying that it had been realized “without any problem or complication." It added that Kirchner was expected to be discharged in 72 hours.
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“During the procedure, which lasted around three-and-a-half hours, a total thyroidectomy was realized in line with the pre-established plan, with the patient showing a good immediate post-operative recovery,” the statement concluded.
Kirchner was being accompanied by her mother and two children, who were present as she awoke from the anesthetic, hospital sources added.
Her vice president, Amado Boudou, an electric-guitar playing, Harley Davidson-riding former economy minister, was named acting president for 20 days, although Kirchner is expected to return to office before that period ends.
The cancer diagnosis came at the end of a turbulent 15 months for Kirchner.
In October 2010, her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, 61, died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He had been widely expected to run in – and win – the October 2011 presidential elections.
Instead, his wife ran for a second term, winning by a landslide, and thus becoming the first Latin American woman to be reelected president.
That victory might have seemed highly improbable just a couple of years earlier. Despite helping halve the gap between rich and poor, and overseeing a booming economy as it bounced back from the 2000 debt crisis, her personal popularity had at one stage fallen below 30% during a tax revolt by farmers.
But as she was checked into the hospital yesterday (TUE), staff applauded. And outside the hospital, supporters displayed a mannequin of her late husband and cheered as news of the successful surgery spread.