Yelena Bonner, wife of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, confirmed yesterday that she has been granted permission to see medical treatment in the United States, and is expected to receive that treatment from Harvard doctors.
Bonner and her second husband Sakharov, the winner of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize, yesterday spoke by telephone to her children in Newton, confirming reports that she had been given permission to come to the United States for treatment of a heart condition. Yesterday marked the first time in six years that the Newton family had spoken to Sakharov, their stepfather.
Sakhaorv told the family that he ended his hunger strike late last month when the government gave his wife permission to leave the country for three months to seek medical helps, according to Efrem Yankelevich, Bonner's son-in-law.
The physicist, who has been exiled to Gorky since 1980 for his criticism of Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, told his stepchildren that he is recovering from losing 44 pounds during his fast.
Exiled to Gorky since 1984, Bonner was recently granted an exit visa to travel to Siena, Italy, for an eye operation. Following her stay in Siena, she will come to Boston for treatment of a heart condition, Yankelevich said yesterday.
"She will come as soon as she is strong enough. It depends on her recovery from the operation," he said.
Yankelevich said that he did not know which hospital would treat Bonner's heart condition. Three Boston area hospitals--Beth-Israel, Massachusetts General and University Hospital--had offered their services, he said.
Beth-Israel Hospital declined to comment on whether they would be treating Bonner, and a spokesman for Massachusetts General said, "We don't solicit patients."
University Hospital's Media Relations Manager Norman J. Sherman said that the hospital had offered to treat Bonner's heart disease and had received a "positive and appreciative response" from the family.
"There is a genuine need to provide good care for any person with a serious medical ailment, and we felt she should have Western doctors available to her," said Sherman.
Bonner, a pediatrician who married Sakharov in 1971, has been allowed to go abroad three times for eye problems, most recently in 1979. Although Soviet officials last month asked Bonner to leave the country immediately, she postponed the trip until her husband recovered from his fast. At the end of November, Bonner plans to go to Italy to consult an opthalmologist, Yankelevich said.