Hume suffered brain damage during surgery - wife confirms in TV doc

Nobel laureate John Hume suffered mild brain damage during surgery 12 years ago, his wife, Pat, has revealed.

In a television documentary screened this week, Pat Hume disclosed that, as a result of a medical procedure carried out in Austria in 1999, her husband now suffered “quite severe memory problems.”

The former SDLP leader had been attending a peace conference in the western Austrian village of Alpbach when he became ill. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured intestine.

In this week’s TV profile, Mrs. Hume recalled the illness that resulted in her husband’s current memory difficulties.

“John became very ill and this resulted in three major abdominal operations and a period in intensive care with a ventilator,” she said. “I think at that stage he suffered some brain damage so he has quite severe memory problems.”

Mrs. Hume said the problems were not apparent at the time but acknowledged that, since his retirement, her husband’s memory difficulties have increased.

“But he keeps himself busy,” she added. “He’s quite independent; he goes to his Derry City football matches; he goes to the local every evening.

“He stays very much involved in events in the town and does a bit of walking, so, hopefully, that will continue.”

Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that the SDLP will host a “tribute night” to the Humes in the city on October 9.