Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was discharged from a hospital in São Paulo Sunday after a four-day stay for treatment for an obstructed intestine, a problem he attributes to being stabbed on the campaign trail in 2018.
The 66-year-old appeared to be in good spirits as he left Vila Nova Star Hospital, where doctors said during his stay the president may have to undergo emergency surgery to unblock his intestine, although Bolsonaro ultimately didn’t go through with the procedure.
Bolsonaro will head straight to capital city Brasília on Sunday, where he’ll receive outpatient treatment, according to a statement.
His personal surgeon has instructed the president to stick to a healthy diet to prevent future digestive issues, but Bolsonaro said he will not follow it strictly: “I’m not an example for anyone,” he said outside of the hospital Sunday.
Bolsonaro downplayed his condition throughout his hospital stay, posting videos and photos of him walking around and continuing to work with his advisors on social media. Brazilian media have accused the president of using his hospital stay to boost his approval numbers, while others compared his behavior to that of a year ago when he was infected with coronavirus. Bolsonaro has repeatedly referred to coronavirus as “a little flu,” despite the disease infecting more than 19 million Brazilians and killing more than 500,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Bolsonaro was admitted to the hospital Wednesday after suffering from abdominal pain and chronic hiccups that lasted more than a week and a half. According to the president, the blockage is linked to when he was stabbed while campaigning in 2018, an attack that nearly killed him. Since then, he’s undergone five surgeries related to the stabbing.