2011-05-19 / Local & State

Corbett Resumes Duties After Back Surgery

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett’s back surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital on Monday was described as successful by surgeons who said he was resting comfortably after awakening from anesthesia.

Corbett was expected to spend a night or two in Allegheny General Hospital recovering from the operation and could be back in Harrisburg by the end of the week, his office said.

After the procedure, Corbett resumed all gubernatorial duties and powers from Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who served briefly as acting governor.

The operation, characterized as routine, is part of the 61-year-old Republican governor’s treatment for spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that can lead to pain and decreased activity. Doctors said the operation was needed to avert possible permanent damage.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Mark Fye, an orthopedic spinal specialist who directs the hospital’s spinal surgery division, and Dr. Patrick J. DeMeo, chairman of the hospital’s orthopedic surgery division and medical director for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Fye told reporters Corbett should recover well, and will require walking rehabilitation for more than a month. His medical team said he will be taking morphine and Vicodin for the pain, followed by an over-the-counter medication.

First lady Susan Corbett said the governor’s first postsurgery request was for a cup of coffee – and it was declined.

Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said the governor sent one set of letters beforehand to the House and Senate, outlining the constitutional provisions invoked to make Cawley acting governor for about three hours, and a second set went out following the operation.

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