Nelson Mandela unable to speak due to treatment

Nov. 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM

HOUGHTON, South Africa, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela has lost his ability to speak due to tubes down his throat to treat his lung condition, his former wife said.

Mandela was released from the hospital in early September after three months of treatment for a lung infection.

He is now receiving round-the-clock care by 22 doctors in his Houghton home, the Sunday Tribune of Durban, South Africa, reported Sunday.

Mandela's former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, said that though the former leader's condition isn't considered critical, he's unable to speak "because of all the tubes that are in his mouth to clear the lungs" and prevent further infection.

"He can't actually articulate anything," she said. "He communicates with the face, you see. But the doctors have told us they hope to recover his voice."

Meanwhile, Mandela's home is set up as the next-best thing to a hospital intensive care unit, the Sunday Tribune reported.

"He remains very sensitive to any germs so he has to be kept literally sterile. The bedroom there [in Houghton] is like an ICU ward," Madikizela-Mandela said.

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