TEL AVIV – President Reuven Rivlin’s wife Nechama was in stable condition Wednesday morning but remained sedated and on a respirator after a sudden deterioration in her condition the previous evening.
The president cut short a state visit to Canada to fly home Tuesday to be with his wife. On Wednesday, he visited Nechama in the Beilinson Hospital’s cardio-thoracic intensive care unit. She had suffered shortness of breath and a serious cardiac incident after receiving a lung transplant three weeks ago.
The hospitalization comes less than a week before her husband will be required to perform presidential duties in Israel’s national elections.
According to Dr. Eytan Wirtheim, the director of the Rabin Medical Center at Beilinson, Nechama Rivlin’s Wednesday morning echocardiogram results showed a marked improvement in heart function and physiological readings.
“I have just visited my wife Nechama, and I am very encouraged. Nechama had a cardiac condition that has been treated and I very much hope that when she wakes up she will be able to return to the recuperation she began immediately after the transplant,” the president said in a statement.
“The long hours of the flight back from my visit to Canada to Israel were deeply worrying, but I know that my Nechama, our Nechama, is a very strong woman. She is the world’s best mother and grandmother and has also been a public servant over the past five years in many fields of Israeli society. She has received the most wonderful appreciation and support possible for that work.”
He added, “I want to thank you for that support. It crosses all boundaries, comes from all ages, all views across the spectrum and proves to us time after time the strength of our people. The children and I have felt that unceasing support since the moment she went to hospital and it moves us and gives us strength again and again.”
The Israeli president also expressed his thanks to the Beilinson medical team.
Wirtheim said that Mrs. Rivlin had suffered from pulmonary insufficiency before being given a lung transplant — which is usually a last resort for treating the condition.
“Post-operative progress was complicated and lengthy but Mrs. Rivlin is a strong woman and highly motivated to recover,” Wirtheim said.
“Unfortunately, last night she had a serious cardiac incident caused by weakness in one of the valves in her heart. She was diagnosed quickly and treated quickly,” he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Nechama a “full recovery, together with all Israel’s citizens.”