Archive of the Updates on President Jagan's Medical Crisis
|Dr. Cheddi JaganPresident of Guyana
The President of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Cheddi Jagan, suffered a heart attack late in the night of
Friday, February 14. He was airlifted from Guyana to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC,
USA. Here are the updates that were presented on the News From Guyana page as the news
The Weekend of February 15-16
The President of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Cheddi Jagan, suffered a heart attack on the morning of
Saturday, February 15. The latest report as of 10:00am on Saturday from Georgetown is that the President is
currently in stable condition and resting in a Georgetown hospital. Nevertheless plans are underway for
the President to be flown to a hospital in the United States as soon as possible for further treatment.
Further updates on the President's situation will be made available on this page as the news reaches me.
- A now confirmed report to this page has stated that about 1:30 pm
on Saturday, a United States Air Force C-130 transport plane had
just landed at Timehri International Airport. It is believed
that this plane will fly the President into the United States.
- According to wire reports, the President has left Timehri Airport on
board the US Air Force plane.
- He is to be taken to a US Air Force base in Panama and then to Washington DC
where he will undergo tests at the Walter Reed military hospital.
- Wire reports from Guyana said that Dr. Jagan smiled and waved as he
left Georgetown Hospital on a stretcher for transport to Timehri Airport.
- President Jagan arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland
on Sunday afternoon (16 February). He is currently undergoing medical
tests at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Updates on the President as of Monday, 17 February
- Last night President Jagan suffered cardiac complications which required
emergency intervention at Walter Reed's Cardiac Catherisation Laboratory.
- President Cheddi Jagan was this morning (Monday 17) reported as being in relatively
stable condition after a difficult night when he underwent angioplasty procedures for
four hours to clear a clogged artery.
- This "ballon intervention" procedure was a success although the President
blood pressure is still not fully under control.
- The President woke up this morning to greet his daughter, Nadira, after which he
requested to see First Lady Janet Jagan. Mrs. Jagan and their son Cheddi Jagan Jnr. are
staying in a suite at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.
- The First Lady expressed cautious optimism for the recovery of the President, and she said
that the next 48 hours would be critical in assessing progress in the President's
- The Government of Guyana has urged all Guyanese to remain calm and for citizens
to keep hope alive.
- As of 10:45pm tonight (Monday 17th) the President's situation has not been updated.
The last word from the hospital came this morning confirming that the President is resting
in relatively stable condition.
Update on the President as of Tuesday, February 18th
- Dr. Jagan's vital functions are being supported and maintained at the Coronary
Crisis Ward of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.
- He is in serious but stable condition.
- The President is alert and in his full senses.
- A source at the Embassy of Guyana, Washington DC confirmed that the President's
situation is unchanged. He is still in a serious but stable condition
Update on the President as of Wednesday, February 19th
- As of 7:30am this morning the President's medical situation is unchanged.
- The President's situation remains the same. He continues to receive medical care.
- According to doctors at Walter Reed, Dr. Jagan's condition remains stable.
- Dr. Jagan is fully conscious and has been writing brief notes on his own.
- The President's respiratory and heart functions are still receiving life support.
Further heart tests were performed this morning on Dr. Jagan.
- All options are being pursued in the Coronary Crisis Ward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
to take the President out of the critical state in which he has been since a 4-hour angioplasty
intervention Sunday night to clear a clogged artery.
- Meanwhile, the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, spoke by telephone to
First Lady Janet Jagan yesterday and said that he was praying for Dr. Jagan's recovery.
Update on the President as of Thursday, February 20th
- The medical specialists attending to the President have reported a decreasing dependence by Dr. Jagan
on drugs to support his blood pressure.
- Doctors also report a continuing improvement of the President's respiratory system.
- The major critical area remains the heart function and recent tests have indicated the need for continued
life support in that area. These tests are being done to determine how much of the President's
heart muscle functions have recovered to allow any phase withdrawal of the cardiac life support device.
- Doctors at the prestigious Walter Reed Army Medical Center stated that they are impressed
by the strong will of the President to come out of his difficulties.
- On a Voice of America radio broadcast yesterday, the President's son, Dr. Cheddi Jagan Jr., stated
"The President is thinking about his people and his country a hundred per cent and whenever I talk to
him that's all he is concerned about."
Clinton, Carter Join Well-Wishers
- United States President Bill Clinton and former US President Jimmy Carter have both expressed best
wishes to Guyana's First Lady Janet Jagan for the speedy recovery of President Cheddi Jagan. Former
US Ambassador to Guyana, George Jones has also telephoned Mrs. Jagan conveying his best wishes
- President Clinton also said he is extending all possible help in the treatment of the Guyanese Head
- Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Cesar Gaviria conveyed his best
wishes on behalf of the OAS and on his behalf to the Government and people of Guyana, hoping
for full recovery of the President.
- Guyana's Ambassador to the OAS, Dr. Odeen Ishmael, briefed the Permanent Council of the OAS
on the President's condition yesterday. All members of the council expressed concern at the President's
- In addition, the Guyana Embassy in Washington and the Ambassador's residence have been fielding hundreds
of calls daily from Guyanese and other persons around the US and Canada, expressing their concern and hopes
for President Jagan's full recovery.
Prayers Go Up For President's Recovery
- In Georgetown, an inter-faith prayer service for the President was held on Tuesday.
Anglican Bishop Randolph George recited the 23rd Psalm and said a prayer while his
wife sang a beautiful rendition of 'rest in the Lord and wait patiently'. Also
at the service were several dignitaries including Acting President Sam Hinds,
Chancellor of the Judiciary Cecil Kennard, Speaker of the House and brother
of the President, Derek Jagan, British High Commissioner David Johnson,
Indian High Commissioner Narendra Kumar, Charge d'Affaires at the US Embassy
High Simon and Ministers of the Government.
- Another service was held at Better Hope ECD, where a huge crowd
gathered to pray for the President.
- Representative of Guyana's 3 major religions are appearing on private
television stations (who have opened up their studios) throughout the nation
offering prayers for the President recovery.
- Citizens were given the opportunity to offer prayers and read meditations
on behalf of the President on live television call-in programs.
Update on the President as of Friday, February 21st
- The President's condition remains serious but
stable. He is however responding to treatment.
- First Lady Janet Jagan who is with the President at the hospital reported that the Guyanese
leader is in fine spirit. He is encouraged by the messages of support and solidarity which
are being conveyed to him in overwhelming numbers from Guyana and around
- Messages of support came in today from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and also from
the Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretin. Other well-wishers today were the President
of Venezuela and Prime Minister Patterson of Jamaica. The enormous amount
of well wishers so far also include US President Bill Clinton, who personally spoke
with Mrs. Jagan informing her that he was praying for the recovery of President Jagan.
- A major bright spot for the President since his hospitalization was a visit from
his eldest grandchild Wednesday afternoon. The 13 year old Cheddi Jagan III,
was allowed to see his grandfather who fondly held him, ruffling his hair and playing
with him. The President was excited and emotional at seeing him.
- Meanwhile back home in Guyana, an impressive list of organizations are keeping hope alive for Dr. Jagan.
The Guyana Trade Union Congress is calling on workers to pray constantly for Dr. Jagan's
- The Guyana Council of Churches yesterday requested that the Christian community
dedicates Sunday, February 23 as a day of prayer for the recovery and good health
of President Jagan. In addition, the Hindu and Muslim communities have also began holding
prayer sessions for Dr. Jagan's recovery.
- The President's Cabinet met for the third time this week to discuss a deferred
item dealing with the privatization of the Guyana Electricity Corporation. In the absence
of President Jagan, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds has been designated the Acting
Update on the President as of Saturday, February 22nd
6:30 pm (Washington DC time)
- The latest report states that President Jagan is rallying against a reversal
in his condition.
- First Lady Janet Jagan said that the Guyanese leader remains conscious and
alert, and family members are communicating with him.
- The Government has also stated that contrary to a report in the Stabroek News (a daily independent Guyanese newspaper),
the cardiac life support has NOT been removed from President Jagan whose condition remains
- The 27th Anniversary of the Guyanese Republic is tomorrow. At midnight tonight a flag raising
ceremony will be held at the National Park. Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who is now the Acting President due to
President Jagan's absence from the country, will deliver the Republic Day address to the nation.
Update on the President as of Sunday, February 23rd
7:00 pm (Washington DC time)
12:00 noon (Washington DC time)
- The President had a very restful day on this 27th Anniversary of the Republic.
However, his condition still remains serious.
- Doctors at the hospital have expressed amazement at his continued resilience.
- Meanwhile in Guyana, Mashramani celebrations went on as normal.
- Acting President Sam Hinds in his Republic Day address recalled how Dr. Jagan
had joked with him saying that he might not be back from the ongoing
CARICOM conference in time and that Hinds will have to prepare to deliver the address.
- Hinds in his speech said of Dr . Jagan
"He himself has been one of those most indefatigable, most unswerving, most
resolute, most committed, most sacrificing, on that long road of struggle from the
colonial past to the independent present. In himself, he embodies so much of that struggle,
so much of our victory."
"He had been in that battle for at least half a century; now he battles with a sudden challenge.
"Our prayer is that the self-same Jagan spirit of toughness and resilience, fortitude and
strength of character, that fighting spirit which has served Guyana so well for so
long, will serve him well in this time of personal trial to overcome this enormous
"We wish our President an early recovery to full health."
- Mrs. Janet Jagan in a tape recorded message to the nation sent Republic Day greetings
from her husband, to the nation. She continued, "In these fifty years, President Jagan has devoted
his whole life to the basic ideals of freedom, democracy, human liberty, unity and the struggle
to eliminate poverty and suffering, not only in Guyana, but in the region, the hemisphere and the entire
world. Mashramani greetings to one and all!"
- The Heads of Government at the Caribbean Community summit in Antigua and Barbuda,
expressed their "deep concern over the illness" of President Jagan. They continued in a statement
of best wishes for Dr. Jagan, "His absence was certainly felt by all."
- On this 27th Anniversary of the Republic, Guyana's President Dr. Cheddi Jagan has
stabilized and is still fully conscious and alert.
- President Jagan had a restful night and continues to rally with the assistance of
expert medical care at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.
- The President was visited over the weekend by his two grandchildren living in
Canada. They will return home this afternoon.
Update on the President as of Monday, February 24th
11:30 am (Washington DC)
- President Jagan woke up this morning after a restful night. He is fully conscious and alert
but is still in a serious condition.
- Dr. Jagan is receiving medical care 24 hours a day from doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical
Update on the President as of Tuesday, February 25th
7:00 pm (Washington DC)
- There has been improvement overnight in the condition of President Cheddi Jagan.
- Late yesterday afternoon, the balloon pump which was assisting the President's
heart to work, was removed. His heart is now operating independently of the
- He is currently being weaned off the drugs used in the treatment process.
- President Jagan's condition still remains serious but he is now more comfortable.
Washington Ambassador Talks About His Visit With the President
- In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, Guyana's Ambassador in Washington,
Dr. Odeen Ishmael, recalled his bedside visit with President Jagan. Ishmael was the first
person outside the immediate Jagan family granted permission to visit the President and
he said he spent about 10 minutes with Dr. Jagan around noon yesterday (Feb 24).
- Mrs. Jagan was with the Guyana Ambassador on his bedside visit and she "talks
to [Dr. Jagan] and he would nod his head", Ishmael said. He explained that the President is on
a respirator and as a result cannot speak. "But he can nod 'Yes' or shake his head to say
'No' and you have to frame your questions to meet the occasion", he said.
- But for Ishmael, it was the fire in the eyes of the President that moved him yesterday.
"It's those shining eyes that I have seen that strengthens my optimism. Those of us who have
been associated with him for a very long time, know his eyes. We know when he is determined;
and when he wants you to go and do something right away, you go and do it -- he doesn't have to
tell you to do it . . . Those eyes are bright . . .".
- Guyana's Ambassador in Washington said that the Guyana Embassy in Washington
and his residence were up to yesterday "bombarded" with rumors that Dr. Jagan, 78,
had passed away and that the Embassy was "covering up" to aid a Guyana Government
- "Guyana is a total democracy now and there is no need to cover up", Ishmael argued.
"Some people are still cloaked in the attitudes of conspiracies that gripped Guyana for so many
years before [the October 1992 General Elections] brought a change to the country, and these
traits are coming out at this time."
Stabroek News Criticized by Government for "irresponsible coverage"
- The Guyana Government has blasted the independent daily Stabroek News
for its "irresponsible coverage of the illness of President Cheddi Jagan".
- Apparently Stabroek News had disregarded the regular Government releases on the President's
condition and had instead relied on an unidentified Washington source for their information. It turned out
that most of the information they received from their source was highly inaccurate and contradicted
- "President Jagan's illness is a matter of serious concern to the Nation, the region and the world.
Our national media owe a duty to be factual in the interest of professionalism and the constitutional
command of the right of the people to receive information", said the Guyana Government in a
- First Lady Janet Jagan, in a press statement today also criticized the Stabroek News.
"My family and I are constantly near to [President Jagan] and are given all information available.
None of it matches the ridiculous reports in Stabroek News. It is my conclusion the the newspaper
is either making up these tales or is being conned by a 'source'."
Update on the President as of Wednesday, February 26th
6:00 pm (Washington DC)
1:30 pm (Washington DC)
- After 48 hours President Jagan continuously continues to function without cardiac
life support. His heart is functioning independently of this device which was
removed late Monday afternoon.
- Dr. Jagan's respiration is mechanically being supported by a ventilator, but
efforts to wean him off this device continues.
- The President's condition requires sedation, but this is applied intermittently and
at intervals to facilitate rest.
- The Guyana Information Services (GIS) continues to maintain a 24-hour
hotline telephone service (54255) to provide the public updates on the
- Meanwhile Guyana's Washington Ambassador Odeen Ishmael said that
goodwill messages transmitted from Guyanese and non-Guyanese from around
the world were clearly "lifting the President's spirits". Mrs Jagan reads most of these messages
to him "and she tells him how people are sending their goodwill", Ishmael reported.
- According to Ishmael the Jagan family at the hospital has been overwhelmed with
letters and flowers. "The flowers can't go into the room but in the area where Mrs. Jagan
is, it is like if you walk into a horticultural show", Ishmael said to the Guyana Chronicle.
- In Guyana, the independent daily Stabroek News replied to Government
criticism of its coverage of the President's health situation. In an editorial today Stabroek News
"What we have accused the Government of is non-disclosure of information. It is not
that we cannot understand the motivation to withhold details on the President's condition; we
have no doubts that it is not done with malice. We recognize among the other things prompting
such reticence will be the need of a family to preserve a measure of privacy at a time of acute
distress . . . . The problem is, the President of Guyana is not a private citizen . . . the right of
the people to know the truth about the condition of a President whom they elected to office,
must override the right to privacy of the immediate family."
- The editorial also criticized the GIS medical bulletins on the President situation saying that they
"contain nothing of substance" and that they "recite like a mantra". Stabroek News furthermore
called for more information to be released by GIS including the results of all medical tests being
performed on the President.
- The Guyana Information Services (GIS) in a medical bulletin today apparently
replied to the Stabroek News editorial by stating "The GIS continues to make
full disclosure of information received and does so responsibly and in conformity
with the broad principles of medical ethics relating to confidentiality of a
patient's medical information, be that patient a prince or a pauper."
- Meanwhile the President's Cabinet continues to meet regularly. Yesterday,
the items discusses included the privatization proposals for entities including Guyana
National Printers and Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation.
- President Jagan's condition remained stable overnight.
- Doctors treating the President at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC say
they are satisfied with his progress.
- Dr. Jagan continues to depend on a respirator. However, contrary to some reports
in the media, he is NOT sedated at all times.
Update on the President as of Thursday, February 27th
6:00 pm (Washington DC)
- Doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center have today reiterated
their satisfaction with the progress in President Cheddi Jagan's condition.
- The President was resting today under light sedation as his heart continues to
function independently of a cardiac life support device which was assisting his
heart to work since he underwent a a"balloon" angioplasty operation on February 16.
- The President's Cardiologist said that the balloon procedure worked beyond
expectations. She also stated that Dr. Jagan did not suffer a
second heart attack during the angioplasty procedure, contrary to earlier media reports.
- Dr. Jagan's respiration is mechanically being supported by a ventilator, but efforts
to wean him off this device continue. On a "trial and error" test last evening, the
respirator was shut off for 45 minutes then re-activated.
- The President's condition is generally stable but remains serious. Tests are routinely
being done as doctors monitor his progress round-the-clock.
Update on the President as of Friday, February 28th
7:00 pm (Washington DC)
- There has been no significant change in the condition of President Cheddi Jagan but
doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center say that the has made satisfactory
- Last evening tests performed on the President revealed no adverse change
in the functioning of his vital organs.
- President Jagan's respiration is still being artificially supported.
Update on the President as of Saturday, March 01, 1997
3:00pm (Washington DC)
- First Lady Janet Jagan reported this afternoon that President Cheddi Jagan is being
fed nutritious foods through a tube directly into his stomach.
- The President was also moved today to a ultra-modern deluxe bed
which provides him more comfort.
- The President's condition remains serious but doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical
Center say that he continues to make satisfactory progress.
- According to a GIS release First Lady Janet Jagan expresses thanks to the Guyanese people
for their concern for the President and repeated that the family is deeply appreciative
Update on the President as of Sunday, March 02, 1997
8:00pm (Washington DC)
- Doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center are continuing attempts to wean
Dr. Jagan from the artificial respirator.
- However, they are at the moment experiencing complications in maintaining
the President's normal lung functions.
- Dr. Jagan remains in a very serious condition.
Update on the President as of Monday, March 03, 1997
10:00 pm (Washington DC)
12:00 noon (Washington DC)
- Guyana's Ambassador in Washington Dr. Odeen Ishmael, who has just returned from
a visit to Dr. Jagan's bedside, reported to this page that
the President remains in an extremely critical condition.
- He also said that the President's heart and lung functions continue
- Questioned on how the First Lady is holding up, Ishmael replied that Mrs. Jagan
is demonstrating "remarkable courage in the face of this adversity and
is displaying what a great leader of the Guyanese people she is".
- Ishmael emotionally summed up Dr. Jagan's worsening condition with the words
"The flame that led the struggle for freedom and democracy in Guyana
is now flickering".
- The condition of President Cheddi Jagan has taken a turn for the worse.
- He is now in an extremely critical state.
- Dr. Jagan's doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC
reported this morning that they have been encountering greater instability in
his lung functions.
- Additionally the President's heart functions have also deteriorated.
Update on the President as of Tuesday, March 04, 1997
10:00 pm (Washington DC)
- President Jagan remains in an extremely critical condition.
- Doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC continue to give the
President round-the-clock care.
- However, Dr. Jagan's blood pressure continues to fluctuate dangerously and he is
currently under heavy sedation.
- In addition the President's doctors had been encountering problems with
water gathering in his lungs.
- Ambassador Ishmael in Washington told the Guyana Chronicle yesterday,
"We are hanging on and waiting to see how this will turn out, but [President Jagan] is still very, very critical . . . "
The Ambassador also said that Dr. Jagan was still on the artificial respirator but that the cardiac support had
not been reconnected even though his heart function had deteriorated.
Update on the President as of Wednesday, March 05, 1997
- President Jagan's medical crisis continues to worsen.
- In regard to the President's condition Guyana's Washington Ambassador this evening
said to this page (GN&I), "It appears that we are facing the inevitable".
- The President's immediate family continues their stay at the hospital.
- This evening, President Jagan's son Cheddi Jagan Jr., arrived in Washington
from Guyana. He had previously returned to Georgetown last week when it appeared
that the President was on the road to recovery.
- The condition of President Cheddi Jagan remains extremely critical.
- Nevertheless, there has been no letting up of round-the-clock attention
by the teams of doctors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
- Today the doctors have started to reduce the President's level of sedation as Dr. Jagan
is holding his own in a continuing heroic battle since his condition worsened over the weekend.
- Dr. Jagan's doctors continue to express their amazement at the fight the President
is putting up against his life threatening condition.
- Meanwhile back in Guyana, the Minority parties in Parliament continue to be briefed
by the Government on the President's situation.
- Also, the Minority People's National Congress (PNC) wrote Acting President Sam
Hinds last week asking for a full report on the President's condition from the hospital.
- A Government spokesman told the Guyana Chronicle that
the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, replied to the PNC's
letter saying that the Government was in favor of consultations but noting that the
Minority PNC had not attended the briefing on Saturday while all other Minority parties
did make a showing.
- The business of the Guyana Government continued as usual, despite the worsening
condition of the President. In a lengthy Cabinet session yesterday the billion-dollar
gold scam case came under review. Also under discussion was the return to China
of the Chinese 'boat people'.
Update on the President as of Thursday, March 06, 1997
- GEORGETOWN Guyana, March 6 (Reuter) - Guyana's president, Cheddi Jagan, 78,
died of apparent heart problems early on Thursday at a Washington hospital
after a three-week illness, Guyana's ambassador in Washington, Odeen Ishmael
"The president is dead. The flame has now gone out," Ishmael told Reuters
in a brief telephone interview.
1.59 a.m. (Guyana Time)
- Statement by Ambassador Odeen Ishmael on the death of President Cheddi Jagan.
It is my sad duty to announce that His Excellency President Cheddi Jagan died
at 12.23 a.m. (EST) on Thursday March 6, 1997 at the Walter Reed Army Medical
Center in Washington DC. President Jagan was 78 years old.
Guyana is all the poorer with the passing of this great Guyanese leader. But
the Guyanese people are nevertheless enriched with his legacy of struggle for
freedom, democracy and social justice — a struggle for which he dedicated his
March 6, 1997