Nelson Mandela's health status in question amidst differing reports

nelson-mandela-health-impending-death.jpgFormer South African president Nelson Mandela is nearing the end, according to court documents.

The AP reports that Mandela's health is listed as "perilous" and that he is described as facing "impending death" in said documents, which came to light when the Mandela family filed to have the bodies of three of Mandela's children exhumed from his grandson's property and moved back to the family burial site. The grandson allegedly moved the bodies without permission in 2011.

However, the president's office denies some of the language of the court documents, saying that Mandela is not in a "permanent vegetative state" and that his condition is critical but stable.

The chief executive of the Faculty of Consulting Physicians of South Africa, Dr. Adri Kok, tells the AP that the longer an older person is on life support, the harder it is to wean them off. She is not, however, Mandela's acting physician, but she does offer up some insight into Mandela being on life support.

Kok says, "It indicates a very poor prognosis for recovery because it means that he's either too weak or too sick to breathe on his own. Usually if a person does need that, any person, not keeping in mind his age at all, for any person it would be indicative of a grave illness. When they say 'perilous' I think that would be a fair description."

Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, said at a fundraising drive that this is an opportunity for their country to come together.

"Whatever is the outcome of his stay in hospital, that will remain the second time where he offered his nation an opportunity to be united under the banner of our flag, under the banner of our constitution," says Machel, referring to his previous 27-year imprisonment and subsequent freeing and being elected president of South Africa in an all-race election.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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