President cuts short state visit to Canada as wife is hospitalized for ‘severe shortness of breath’ less than three weeks after lung transplant
File: President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama look at the snow-covered garden at the President's Residence in Jerusalem after a snowstorm hit the capital in February 2015. (Haim Zach/GPO)
The wife of President Reuven Rivlin was rushed to a hospital Tuesday evening with difficult breathing, some three weeks after receiving a lung transplant.
Nechama Rivlin was suffering from “severe shortness of breath with a cardiac link,” a statement from Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva said.
The hospital said the first lady was under sedation and on a respirator, after “a sudden deterioration in her condition.”
The president abruptly cut short a state visit to Canada on Tuesday to fly home.
He is expected back in Israel Wednesday morning, and will travel directly to the hospital to be at her side, the President’s Residence said in a statement.
Rivlin, 73, has pulmonary fibrosis, a condition in which scar tissue accumulates in the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe.
She has usually been seen in public with a portable oxygen tank, including when accompanying her husband at official ceremonies.
The lung transplant was declared successful when it was completed on March 12, but doctors cautioned her condition remained tenuous, and that she faced a long road to recovery.