Dutch PM released from hospital
15 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was released from hospital on Friday, a month after he was admitted for treatment of an aggressive foot infection.
15 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was released from hospital on Friday, a month after he was admitted for treatment of an aggressive foot infection.
He immediately expressed his concern about the divisions he said were opening up in the Netherlands.
But Balkenende will not return to work until the end of October, the Government Information Service RVD said. He hopes to attend a European summit in Rome on 29 October.
The Christian Democrat CDA leader has been given a special shoe to protect the foot, and in the coming two months he will need to use crutches. He will also undergo regular treatment at an outpatients' clinic.
While in hospital in Capelle aan den IJssel, Balkenende underwent two operations to remove the infection and a third for a skin transplant. Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm assumed the prime minister's duties.
Having missed the 21 September presentation of the 2005 Budget and the subsequent parliamentary debate, Balkenende said he was "appreciative" of the work carried out by Zalm.
But with trade unions staging mass strikes and protests in recent weeks against the Cabinet's budget cuts, Balkenende also said on Friday he was concerned about the divisions opening up in the Netherlands.
Doctor Eelco de Graaf said it had been necessary to hospitalise the prime minister, saying the infection could have spread quickly. The infection was caused by skin bacteria that can easily enter the body through a wound.
Balkenende still has two wounds, one on his right thigh where skin was removed for the transplant and one on the top of his right foot. But he no longer needs to take medicine.
[Copyright Novum Nieuws 2004]
Subject: Dutch news