CAIRO: “I know that former President Morsi was suffering from a brain tumor and had two surgeries to remove it, but I have no proof of that,” Mohamed Osama Hadi, head of the Health Ministry’s Specialized Medical Boards said Thursday.
Hadi said in an interview with Youm7 that “usually the removal of a brain tumor affects the central nervous system, which might have reflected on Morsi’s decision-making process.”
In December 2012, Al-Wafd newspaper reported that Morsi was trying to remove a small tumor in his brain that was spreading.
Morsi’s office denied the report, calling it a “ridiculous lie” and threatened to bring libel charges against the paper.
Hadi also told Youm7 the procedures for medical examinations that aspiring presidential candidates would be required to go through.
On March 21, Egypt’s Health Minister Adel el-Adawy announced that presidential candidates would be required to undergo physical and mental examinations. According to a government decree on the matter, examinations would be documented only in official reports by special medical committees affiliated to the Ministry of Health.
“Candidates who have been cured from cancer or are suffering from hepatitis C virus will be allowed to compete in upcoming presidential elections,” Hadi said, adding, “Candidates will not be allowed to run for president if reports prove they suffer from diseases that may lead to the failure of any organs, like chronic renal failure for example.”
He said the same standards required for appointment to other sensitive government positions would be applied to the screening of candidates.
Osama said the medical reports were strictly confidential, saying, “Even candidates will not see the reports.”
Doctors selected for the Committees of Specialized Medical Boards are chosen according to specific criteria, Osama said. The Ministry of Health called on the Supreme Council of Universities to nominate doctors of the highest caliber that “are not affiliated with any political currents,” he added.
He said the names of committee members would not be announced.
Osama claimed that Field Marshal Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, who announced his bid for the presidency March 26, would be subject to the examinations but may be checked outside the Specialized Medical Boards headquarters due to security reasons.
Egyptians have previously not been told about the health of their leaders. For instance, former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in the January 25 Revolution, was later found to have been suffering from a number of diseases that were revealed only after he was put in custody when his attorneys asked for clemency because of his failing health. A controversy also arose over ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s brain tumor.
Further, Egypt’s first televised presidential debate in May 2012 between former candidates Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh witnessed accusations related to the health of presidential candidates, when Aboul Fotouh claimed “Moussa [was] hiding his health status, fearing his exclusion from the presidential election.”
Additional reporting by Dana al-Hadidi.