There was an element of ambiguity in the news surrounding the health status of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, especially when he was pronounced clinically dead after a massive stroke that caused his heart to stop beating. However, security and medical sources confirmed that his condition was stable, saying that doctors were able to dissolve the blood clot that caused the stroke. Many thought that the conflicting news about the former president’s health was just an attempt to justify his transfer from the Tora prison hospital to the Maadi military hospital.
The Middle East News Agency (MENA) was the first media outlet to break the news, which led to further confusion across the already baffled Egyptian landscape. On June 19, MENA announced that “Mubarak was pronounced clinically dead upon his arrival to the Maadi military hospital,” which overlooks the Nile in Cairo. The news agency quoted medical sources that said, “Mubarak’s heart stopped beating and he did not respond to defibrillation.”
The controversy over Mubarak’s health was soon all over the Internet, and many pertinent questions were brought up. How will his funeral be held? Will the life sentence he received for murdering protesters affect the decision to organize a military funeral for him? Pundits and analysts rushed to answer these questions. Many of them have gone so far as to say that Mubarak’s heart stopped beating because he could not bear the idea of another president taking his place in the presidential palace.
Yesterday [June 20], military authorities on the state television channel denied Mubarak’s death and called his condition “very critical.” In a telephone conversation with the channel, military expert Major General Sameh Seif Alazel said, “Mubarak started to respond to the treatment and his condition has become slightly less dangerous.”
The statements by official sources concerning Mubarak’s death raised further doubts about the timing of his deteriorating health. Well-informed sources told Al-Hayat, “Mubarak’s situation is stable after he suffered a mild stroke on June 19. The blood clot that caused the stroke was dissolved and his condition stabilized shortly afterward.” The sources also said that some parties, which they did not specify, “sought to spread rumors about Mubarak’s deteriorating condition so that he would be moved to the Maadi military hospital.”
Dozens of Mubarak’s supporters gathered in front of the military hospital. Verbal clashes erupted between the supporters of the ousted president and some bystanders. However, security personnel soon intervened to end the skirmishes. The area around the hospital was swarmed with local and international media and an extensive security presence.