Thursday 26 April 2018

King Abdullah takes over entire New York hospital wing

Jon Swaine

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has prompted disquiet in a New York hospital by commandeering an entire wing as he recovers from back surgery.

The controversial monarch, who has featured notably in the US diplomatic cables released so far by WikiLeaks, underwent a procedure last week to treat a slipped disc and a related blood clot.

The 86-year-old travelled to the US with his entourage for the surgery, which was carried out at the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weil Cornell Medical Centre.

He was reported to have arrived in a convoy of three chartered jets, before being met by a motorcade of 40 vehicles, an estimated half of which were for transporting his luggage.

Fellow patients have now reported that he has block-booked a large section of the hospital's VIP floor, meaning they have been unable to stay in rooms that he is not even using.

"Patients are grumbling," a relative was reported to have told The New York Post.

"The king has taken the entire luxury treatment wing to protect his privacy."

A spokesman for the hospital confirmed the King was being treated there but declined to comment further. It is thought he has donated to the centre in the past.

Earlier this week it emerged that the King urged the US in 2008 to "cut the head off the snake" by launching military action against Iran's nuclear programme.

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