A mystery mark on the right wrist of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hints at the possibility of the tyrant having undergone a major surgery during his disappearance that lasted nearly three weeks, even as North Korean authorities chose to remain mum.
The state-owned Korean Central Television (KCTV) released a set of photographs which showed a hale and hearty Kim inaugurating a fertiliser factory near Pyongyang.
Before going underground, Kim was seen on April 11 during a public rally. Even though the recent photos have quashed the rumors regarding his death, mystery still prevails over the reason behind his absence from the public domain.
Marks on wrist from a recent surgery
KCTV released video footage of the North Korean tyrant riding an electric golf cart while taking a round of the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory. According to NK News, in one of the visuals, a dark colored mark on his right wrist, which was absent during his last public appearance on April 11, provides a possible hint of a recent surgery.
Quoting medical professionals, the publication stated the mark to be related to a cardiovascular procedure. "It looks like a right radial artery puncture ... [which is] often used for access to the coronary arteries for stent placement. It appears to be about a week old. It is hard to tell from the foreshortening of the photograph, but it seems a bit medial. It is not an IV (intravenous), which wouldn't leave such a mark," NK News quoted an unnamed US-trained medical professional.
Quoting another surgeon from South Korea, the publication stated: "The mark on Kim Jong Un's arm looks more plausible to be a procedure or check-up mark from a procedure on a heart-related issue, given such issues run in Kim's family."
Kim's history of heart disease
The speculation regarding Kim being "gravely ill" started soon after Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported that he had undergone a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. The outlet reported that Kim needed the procedure due to "excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork" and that he was now being treated in a villa in Hyangsan County. Soon there were reports about the North Korean leader either being dead or lying in a vegetative state due to the botched-up heart surgery.
However, one of the medical experts presented a different opinion. Jason H Wasfy, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General hospital and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, said: "From these pictures, this dot is not likely to be a radial puncture site. The position would be wrong and the appearance would be unusual, So I think this is not likely [a radial puncture] based on these pictures. It normally would be closer to the thumb."
Bearing a family history of heart diseases, Kim's father and grandfather died of heart attacks. The 36-year old dictator weights around 300 pounds is a chain smoker who is believed to smoke at least four packs a day.