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Mother Teresa Shows Some Improvement, Doctors Say

January 04, 1992|TOM GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — Mother Teresa of Calcutta, showing some improvement but still seriously ill with pneumonia, was treated for an irregular heartbeat Friday, her doctors said.

Although the 81-year-old Roman Catholic missionary and winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize is in "good spirits" and eating solid foods, her physicians said Friday that they "remain concerned" about her.

The irregular heartbeat lasted for less than 15 minutes and was not life-threatening.

X-rays show that the nun's lungs are beginning to clear, nine days after she was hospitalized for pneumonia at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, according to her primary doctors, Patricia Aubanel and Paul Teirstein.

Still, they said, "signs of a serious infection remain."

Mother Teresa underwent angioplasty to clear clogged coronary arteries. Her physicians say she is at risk of complications for another three or four weeks.

Scripps officials say letters and phone calls offering prayers and support continue to pour into the clinic.

Scripps spokeswoman Sue Pondrom said the clinic decided not to charge Mother Teresa for the care, and to absorb the cost as a community service. Although she said there is no ongoing tabulation of the cost, treatment for typical angioplasty patients can vary from $7,000 to $40,000. Because of the complications of pneumonia, Mother Teresa is in intensive care, where charges typically begin at $1,500 a day.

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