Samsung chief sedated, stable

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Samsung chief sedated, stable

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee remains under sedation five days after he was hospitalized for a heart attack.

Medical staff of Samsung Medical Center said Lee’s cardiac function and brain waves are stable.

On Saturday night, Lee was taken to Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, after he had difficulty breathing at his Hannam-dong home. Lee developed heart attack symptoms at the hospital.

After receiving CPR, he was transferred early Sunday to Samsung Medical Center in Irwon-dong, where he was diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction and underwent surgery.

A stent was placed in a coronary artery to maintain the flow of blood to his heart.

Medical staff have been conducting hypothermia treatment, which lowers the body temperature to 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fharenheit) over 24 hours to prevent damage to the brain and heart.

Earlier it was reported the treatment could end yesterday morning, but doctors decided to extend it.

The medical team will continue to proceed cautiously because of concern over Lee’s chronic pneumonia symptoms and to prevent secondary heart failure.

According to the medical staff, because the patient has often suffered from pneumonia, he might experience difficulty breathing when the symptoms of pneumonia deteriorate and the proper oxygen saturation is not maintained in the body.

“As the aftereffects and situations differ from patient to patient and considering his age of 72, the medical team thought it would be better to continue treatment rather than pushing for a sudden recovery of consciousness,” said a spokesman for Samsung Group.

“For the time being, when the chairman will recover consciousness is still unknown.”

Hong Ra-hee, director of Leeum Samsung Museum and wife of the chairman, is keeping a round-the-clock vigil at his bedside and Jay Y. Lee, the chairman’s son and a vice chairman of Samsung Electronics; Lee Boo-jin, his older daughter and CEO of Hotel Shilla; and Lee Seo-hyun, his younger daughter and president of Cheil Worldwide have been shuttling among the hospital, their homes and their companies.

Meanwhile, despite Lee’s hospitalization, investors remained bullish on the stocks of major Samsung Group affiliates yesterday following their rally on Monday.

Lee was hospitalized for 10 days at Samsung Medical Center in August last year with symptoms of pneumonia.

In the late 1990s, he was treated for lung cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and since then has been receiving medical checkups on a regular basis.

Following the recommendation of doctors, Lee has spent the past several winters in warm climates. He returned to Korea on April 17 after being overseas for about three months.

BY kim jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]



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