Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been hospitalized for an unusual reason on Wednesday: chronic hiccups. Reuters is reporting that the leader who had a Trump-like rapid populist rise to power in 2018 is being kept under observation "to identify the cause of chronic hiccups, the president's office said, in the latest health scare for the far-right leader who was stabbed in the gut on the campaign trail in 2018."
He's staying at a military hospital in Brasilia, during or after which he'll likely be under scrutiny and examination by doctors for between 24 and 48 hours. He's been observed hiccupping for well over a week - something he himself in recent days began expressing concern about when press interviews got awkward due to the persistent problem.
"I’ve been hiccupping for a week, maybe I can’t express myself well in this life," Bolsonaro remarked during a live broadcast last Thursday, local media reported.
By Tuesday night, he said they were continuing, noting that it seemed like a health crisis: "Guys, I’m speechless, folks. If I start talking a lot, the hiccup crisis returns. The hiccups are already back," he told supporters.
Brazilian media outlet Globo described he was initially admitted for "unspecified medical testing" due to mysterious abdominal pains in the early morning hours of Wednesday, believed to be possibly related to the out of control hiccupping. Globo cited a press release from the president's office, which said in part:
On medical advice, the president will be under observation for a period of 24 to 48 hours, not necessarily in the hospital. He's feeling good and doing well.
And Bloomberg noted, "Bolsonaro’s office confirmed his entire agenda was canceled, including his visit to the Supreme Court where he would meet with top Justice Luiz Fux, Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira and Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco."
Brazilian President hospitalized— EHA News (@eha_news) July 14, 2021
▪️Jair Bolsonaro felt severe abdominal pain and was taken to hospital for tests.
▪️The president had been suffering for more than ten days with hiccups and had an intestinal obstruction pic.twitter.com/dVTJAKqCvo
His presidency has been plagued by health issues, often leading to speculation about how dire a particularl situation is, especially when he and much of his staff got coronavirus last year, but he consistently seems to bounce back.
On the campaign trail he was actually stabbed, his intestines injured, in 2018 - for which he underwent major surgery to save his life. However, he recovered surprisingly quickly and made a rapid return to making public appearances. The crazed attacker had said he was "on a mission from God." It's unclear if the current intestinal issues are related to the prior surgery due to the knife attack - a likely possibility.