Doctors give Stephen King time to rest before next surgery
June 24, 1999
LEWISTON, Maine -- Doctors have decided to postpone author Stephen King's fourth round of surgery until next week because "he is tired and needs rest."
King, 51, who suffered serious injuries to his leg and hip when he was struck by a minivan over the weekend, was listed in serious but stable condition after Wednesday's 10-hour operation at Central Maine Medical Center to repair his shattered hip.
Orthopedic surgeon David Brown had planned to perform relatively minor Surgery Friday to repair injuries to King's knee, to make an adjustment to his pelvis and to rewash his wounds.
"Mr. King has undergone three major surgeries. He is tired and needs rest," said CMMC Critical Care Unit Medical Director Dr. Michael Sterling. "In consultation with Dr. Brown and the King family, we've decided to postpone the next surgery until next week."
Sterling said the only activity planned for the author over the weekend is washing and closing his surgical incisions.
Brown said Wednesday's surgery to repair his hip-joint socket that was broken in several places was "within a millimeter of perfect."
Officials have said it will be about two weeks until King can walk with an assistive device and about nine months until he is fully rehabilitated.
King was tossed more than 10 feet when he was struck by a minivan Saturday while walking along the shoulder of a rural road near his summer home in North Lovell, Maine. He suffered a collapsed lung, multiple fractures to his right leg and hip, and a scalp laceration.
The driver of the minivan, Bryan Smith, 41, apparently lost control after being distracted by his dog, which was running loose inside the vehicle. Authorities say the driver did not appear to be speeding, stopped immediately after the accident and was not cited.
Randall Dustin, communications director at the hospital, said the hospital's Web site is still getting flooded with visits from cyberspace. Hits at the site were up 3,400 percent earlier in the week, and Dustin estimated they're still at those levels.
"We're getting messages from every imaginable place on the globe," said Dustin. "The good will that everyone has expressed has just been wonderful."
While King was in surgery Wednesday, Maine residents were lining up to donate blood for the best-selling horror writer, hospital officials said.
"People up in Bangor are volunteering to give blood," Dustin said. "His blood needs are actually taken care of here, but it's always a good idea to give blood, so I think those gestures are greatly appreciated," he added.
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