The British PM was ‘briefly’ anesthetized for a sinus operation

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was briefly hospitalized under anesthetic on Monday for what his office called a “minor and routine” sinus operation. He is reportedly resting at home, with Deputy PM Dominic Raab serving in his stead until he recovers.

Johnson is expected to return to work on Tuesday depending on “how he feels,” including visiting Rwanda for a Commonwealth heads of government meeting. However, any significant military decisions – such as moves regarding the conflict in Ukraine – made within the next 24 hours are likely to be left up to Raab.

NHS guidance regarding general anesthetic warns against “driving, drinking alcohol and signing any legal documents for 24 to 48 hours” after a procedure, noting that the drugs can affect memory and concentration.

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While the nature of Johnson’s surgery was not disclosed, The Guardian suggested he had been subjected to a functional endoscopic sinus surgery for chronic sinusitis. The procedure widens the sinuses without making any cuts to the face.

Johnson’s office refused to disclose whether the PM had skipped the gargantuan 6.5 million-person NHS waiting list to receive the procedure, merely stating that the surgery had been scheduled “for a while.” A spokesperson said it was “certainly not [his] understanding” that the operation may have been related to Johnson’s diagnosed Covid-19 infection in 2020.

Waiting lists for basic procedures in the NHS have ballooned over the last two years, with millions of elective surgeries repeatedly postponed due to Covid-19 regulations that sought to keep hospital beds empty should they be required by virus-stricken patients. While the postponed procedures are classified as elective, such lengthy delays risk allowing non-emergency situations to spiral into fatal illness, such as diagnostic procedures that would normally catch cancers before they become inoperable.

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