June 18, 2009 / 11:31 AM / in 9 years

Thatcher to have operation on broken arm

LONDON (Reuters) - Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher is to have an operation on her upper arm after breaking it in a fall last week, her spokesman said on Thursday.

Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (L) walks past Chelsea pensioner Dorothy Hughes during the opening of a new infirmary at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London in this file photo from March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

The 83-year-old Conservative politician, known as the “Iron Lady” during her 11 years in power, will stay in London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for at least several more days after the operation, which is scheduled for Friday, her private secretary Mark Worthington said.

“Lady Thatcher is to undergo a routine surgical procedure to insert a pin into the bone of her upper arm in order to assist the healing process. Therefore she will be remaining in hospital for the time being.”

Thatcher, Britain’s first woman prime minister and known as one of the world’s most formidable political minds, was taken to hospital on June 12 after she broke her arm in a fall at her London home.

Her son, Mark, told reporters outside the hospital in Thursday that she was “very well” and Worthington said she was in good spirits.

Thatcher has had intermittent health scares since she was forced from power by her own Conservative Party in 1990.

She suffered a series of mild strokes in late 2001 and 2002 and cancelled several engagements a few months later due to an undisclosed illness. On the advice of her doctors, she cancelled her public speaking schedule and cut back personal appearances.

Thatcher’s daughter Carol revealed in 2008 that her mother had been suffering from dementia for several years and often struggled to remember things — including that her husband Denis had died in 2003.

One of her most recent public engagements was a meeting with Pope Benedict in Rome last month.

Reporting by Kate Kelland. Editing by

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