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Princess says Thailand's king suffered health crisis, possibly because of worry over floods
BANGKOK (AP) ' Thailand's ailing king ' the world's longest-reigning monarch ' recently suffered a health problem that caused him to temporarily lose consciousness, his daughter has revealed, linking the incident to stress over the country's current flood crisis.
News that the health of 83-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej took what Princess Chulabhorn described as a brief turn for the worse comes as Thailand reels from flooding that has inundated rural areas and parts of Bangkok and its suburbs. More than 500 people have died, damage is estimated at several billion dollars and central Bangkok remains threatened.
Chulabhorn, the king's youngest daughter, said Friday during a visit to flood victims in Nonthaburi province north of Bangkok that King Bhumibol had gone into shock and lost consciousness after suffering abdominal bleeding and a sharp drop in his blood pressure. She said that about 800 cc of blood had been found in his bowel movements.
Chulabhorn said he returned to normal health after treatment at the hospital where he has been staying for more than two years, according to the official royal news broadcast Friday night. The king, who was coronated in 1950, has been hospitalized since September 2009, when the Royal Palace said he was being treated for fever and fatigue.
The princess said doctors told her the bleeding could have been caused by worry over Thailand's devastating flooding.
She did not specify when the crisis took place, but her comments indicated it was more than a week ago. She had previously spoken about it on Nov. 7, though not in such detail, and said Friday that it happened the same day she had been visiting flooding victims in Ayutthaya province, also near Bangkok. She visited a Buddhist temple there on Nov. 4.
The king traditionally has played a conciliating role in Thai society, and his decline in health has coincided with trouble in the Southeast Asian nation. Thailand has been beset by woes since a 2006 military coup ushered in a period of political instability, marked by sometimes violent street protests.
His near-disappearance from the public scene has also raised concerns about what will happen after his passing. His son and heir-apparent, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not command the same respect and affection as the king.