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Nelson Mandela doctors: 'turn off life support machine'


Published 05/07/2013

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela, attends a fundraising drive for a children's hospital that will be named after him (AP)
The hearse carrying the remains of family members of former President Nelson Mandela arrives at his house in Qunu (AP)
A young boy rests by a large picture of Nelson Mandela placed by the Union Building in Pretoria (AP)
Supporters hold candles and sing Amazing Grace to show their support outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated (AP)
An arriving wellwisher carries a portrait of Nelson Mandela as he walks down the street outside the entrance to the hospital (AP)
Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba visited the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated (AP)
Get well wishes and flowers are placed outside the Johannesburg home of former President Nelson Mandela (AP)
Granddaughter Tukwini Mandela, left, granddaughter Ndileka Mandela, second left, and daughter Makaziwe Mandela, right, arrive at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital (AP)
Children hold balloons as they sing outside the hospital (AP)
A woman weeps as she and others pray for Nelson Mandela at the Presbyterian church, at the Nelson Mandela museum in Qunu (AP)
Muslims pray for Nelson Mandela during their Friday prayers in Johannesburg (AP)

Doctors have advised Nelson Mandela's family to turn off his life support machine as he is in a 'permanent vegetative state', court documents reveal.

According to court documents dated 26th June the former South African president was in a “permanent vegetative state” and "is assisted in breathing by a life support machine.”


The document continues: “The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.”


"Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability."


The news of the former South African leaders health came as the bitter feuding of the Mandela family exploded into the public arena.


Earlier today the remains of Nelson Mandela's three deceased children were reburied at their original resting site after a court ordered their return two years after Mandela's grandson moved the bodies.


Family members and community elders attended a ceremony on the Mandela property that included the singing of hymns.


The reburial took place in Qunu, Mandela's hometown and the place the former president has said he wants to be buried. Forensic tests earlier confirmed the remains were those of Mandela's children.


The bitter family feud comes as Mandela remains in critical condition nearly a month after being hospitalized for a recurring lung infection.


A Mandela family court affidavit said Mandela is on life support in the form of a breathing respirator and that the situation is perilous.


"It indicates a very poor prognosis for recovery because it means that he's either too weak or too sick to breathe on his own," said Dr. Adri Kok, chief executive of the Faculty of Consulting Physicians of South Africa.


"Usually if a person does need that, any person, not keeping in mind his age at all, for any person it would be indicative of a grave illness."


Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8, remains in critical but stable condition, according to a statement Thursday by President Jacob Zuma's office. Zuma visited Mandela Thursday, said the statement.

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