Queen Mother hospitalized with anemia three days before her 101st birthday
LONDON (AP) – The Queen Mother Elizabeth had a blood transfusion Wednesday at a London hospital where she was being treated for anemia three days before her 101st birthday.
She went to King Edward VII Hospital in the morning with inimitable style – on her own two feet and decked out in one of her fancy hats.
A slight, gray-haired figure in a blue print ensemble and white high heels, she relied on two walking sticks as she made her way from a chauffeured black Daimler up the stairs into the hospital.
Smiling graciously to waiting officials, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II might have been attending yet another flower show instead of checking into the hospital. She turned at the top of the steps to give a cheery wave and smile to reporters and photographers.
Clarence House, her London residence, later announced that the Queen Mother had undergone a blood transfusion, one of the treatments for anemia, and said it was carried out successfully. A blood transfusion, which boosts the level of red blood cells, is usually reserved for more serious cases of anemia.
The announcement that the Queen Mother was going into the hospital was quickly followed by assurances that her condition was not serious.
”There is no cause for alarm,” said her private secretary, Sir Alistair Aird.
But there always is alarm when this immensely popular – and very old – royal is ill. She is clearly aware of this and makes as little fuss as possible, which only further endears the indomitable old lady to a public that sees her as a model of traditional British virtues.
The length of the Queen Mother’s hospital stay will depend on doctors’ assessment of her condition, but Aird said she hopes to be back at Clarence House, her London home, for birthday celebrations on Saturday.
The widow of King George VI ”is hopeful of being able to undertake her usual birthday appearances outside Clarence House on Saturday,” her office said. She traditionally goes to the gates of her house to greet well-wishers who gather outside to give her birthday bouquets.
On Tuesday, the Queen Mother withdrew from public engagements after doctors said she was suffering from heat exhaustion and ordered her to rest. Temperatures had been above 86 degrees – a heat wave by British standards. There is no air conditioning in Clarence House.
Last November, the Queen Mother broke her collar bone during a fall at home. She has had two hip replacements.
Doctors said anemia occurs in one-fifth of women over age 90. The disorder is diagnosed when the blood is not able to supply enough oxygen to the tissues.
Iron deficiency or an underlying chronic disease are the most common causes of anemia among the elderly, experts say. Internal bleeding – from an ulcer, hernia or irritation from drugs – is also a common culprit, experts say.
Treatment can be as simple as taking nutritional supplements, or, in more serious cases, a blood transfusion.
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