Former US President Bill Clinton checked into a New York City hospital early today to undergo more surgery on his chest.
Clinton, 58, arrived at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Centre shortly after 5am local time (10am Irish time) for a low-risk operation to remove fluid and scar tissue that developed in his left lung after his quadruple heart bypass six months ago.
The Secret Service, police and hospital security staff conducted a sweep of the hospital walkways and corridors as Clinton was whisked inside through a side entrance.
Doctors were expected to perform the new procedure today. It is done through a small incision or with a video-assisted thoracoscope inserted between the ribs.
Clinton was in Florida at a charity golf tournament to benefit tsunami victims yesterday. He appeared relaxed, joking about his game and saying he wasn’t worried.
“I’ve had an unusual life. If something happens – if I get struck by lightning on the golf course today – I’d wind up ahead of where 99.99% of the people who ever lived did,” he said.
“I’m just grateful for every day when the sun comes up. But it is not a dangerous procedure, unless something totally unpredictable happens.”
The scar tissue, which developed because of fluid buildup and inflammation, has caused compression and collapse of the lower lobe of Clinton’s left lung, his office said.
The condition “has caused the president some discomfort in recent weeks, but he has otherwise been in very good condition, recently passed a stress test and is walking up to four miles a day,” the statement said.