Imprisoned fmr. President Saakashvili taking “quarter to third” of necessary calorie intake - clinic doctors

  • Doctors in Vivamedi clinic, where former President Mikheil Saakashvili is undergoing treatment, held a media briefing on Wednesday. Photo: IPN, 22 Feb 2023 - 13:59, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili is only taking a “quarter to a third” of his necessary daily calorie intake in contradiction to efforts of professionals at the civilian clinic where he is undergoing treatment, doctors of the clinic said on Wednesday.

Zurab Chkhaidze, the Clinical Director of the Vivamedi clinic, told a media briefing “all necessary medical services” had been ensured for Saakashvili at the facility, with doctors “doing their utmost” to ensure proper treatment, but added the efforts required the “same goal” of successful outcome of treatment from the patient, which he said was absent in the case of the former official.

Sopo Mebuke, the clinic’s endocrinologist, pointed out Saakashvili was only taking the portion of the required daily intake despite being informed on “possible consequences”.

She highlighted health checks had ruled out “any organic reasons” for a loss of appetite and pointed to the patient's “subjective, psycho-emotional background, which is caused, as he himself acknowledged, by the forced restriction of freedom” in his detention.

He only eats the food he wants. He eats about 300 to 400 calories a day, when an intake of at least 1,700 calories is necessary”, she noted, pointing out Saakashvili’s “deteriorated condition” due to his weight reduced to 67 kg, with the patient also experiencing pain in his limbs. 

Saakashvili, who was wanted in Georgia, was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021. Photo: 1TV.

Tamar Davarashvili, Saakashvili’s doctor in the clinic, said his “hemodynamic and respiratory indicators” remained “stable” in relation to the index measured at his transfer to the clinic in May 2022.

The comments come following the Tbilisi City Court ruling earlier this month that denied Saakashvili release or postponement of the rest of his sentence on health grounds. 

The Court’s decision rejected claims of Saakashvili’s entourage on an alleged need for his “urgent treatment abroad due to multiple and serious health problems”. Georgian Government members have also been challenging the position by saying the former President has been engaged in “self-harm through disobeying doctors”, in a bid to facilitate his “illegal release” from detention.

Saakashvili, who has Ukrainian citizenship and held a public post in the country, was arrested on return to Georgia in October 2021 and is serving a six-year term for a case of abuse of power he had been convicted on. He has been undergoing treatment in the Vivamedi civilian clinic in Tbilisi since May 2022, with three other cases against him pending.