Doctor: President 'doing just fine'
Clinton recovering from knee surgery
March 15, 1997
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton was awake and in good spirits less than 24 hours after surgeons repaired a torn tendon in his right knee, his doctors said Saturday.
"He is doing just fine," Dr. David Adkison, the president's chief surgeon at Bethesda Naval Hospital, told CNN.
The president was being kept in the hospital Saturday as doctors adjusted his pain medication and helped him begin physical therapy to recuperate from the injury. Clinton will remain on crutches and in a thigh-to-ankle leg brace for at least a couple of months.
The president underwent the surgery Friday afternoon after stumbling on steps about 1:20 a.m. that morning at golf pro Greg Norman's Florida home. Adkison said the two-hour surgery was a successful "standard operation" and that the president lost little blood. (192K/18 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Dr. Marlene De Maio, an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, said Clinton would likely stay in the hospital overnight. He is expected to go home sometime Sunday.
Before being released from the hospital, Clinton will have to meet certain "goals" outlined by his doctors, such as being able to eat properly and limiting the pain in his knee, De Maio said. (245K/23 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
"If he accomplishes those goals," she said, "he'll be able to go shortly thereafter."
Off to Helsinki
Doctors said the injury would not jeopardize a planned trip to Helsinki, Finland, during which the president will meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin for a two-day summit. The president leaves for the summit on Tuesday.
"He can travel," Adkison said. "Flying on Air Force One, I understand, is not like flying on a commercial airline."
To minimize risk of re-injuring the knee, the president will be accompanied by a physical therapist and an extra doctor, in addition to his three-person medical team that normally travels with him.
First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was to leave on a two-week trip to Africa Saturday with daughter Chelsea, put off the departure for a day so she could spend time with her husband in the hospital.
"The president is doing great and is resting comfortably."
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