Doctors Say Suharto's Organs Failing

Doctors treating former Indonesian dictator Suharto said Friday that his organs have partly failed, but ongoing blood transfusions have improved his condition slightly.

Suharto, 84, was admitted to Jakarta's Pertamina Hospital late Thursday for intestinal bleeding and received a blood transfusion.

"His condition is slightly better as his hemoglobin has raised from 7.8 to 8.4, but for an old man like him, we cannot say that it is stable, especially because the function of some of his organs have decreased by 70 percent," presidential doctor Brig. Gen. Marjo Subiandono said.


The rising hemoglobin numbers are a measure of red blood cells carrying oxygen throughout Suharto's body.

It was the fourth time since May 2004 that Suharto has been hospitalized with intestinal bleeding, including a weeklong stay a year ago.

A former general, he rose to power by crushing Indonesia's communist movement. He ruled the world's fourth-most-populous nation for 32 years with a tough hand, only to be chased from office in 1998 by street protests.

Two years later, he was indicted for allegedly embezzling $600 million.

Suharto has suffered several strokes in recent years that affected his memory and ability to speak. He was also reported to suffer from a variety of other illnesses, including heart problems and diabetes.

Due to his poor health, Suharto avoided trial on corruption charges, becoming an increasingly isolated figure in recent years, looked after by his children, all of whom became extremely wealthy during their father's reign.