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Pataki undergoes a second operation

Gov. George E. Pataki underwent a second surgical procedure Tuesday, hours after being transferred to a Manhattan hospital following his emergency surgery last week for appendicitis. Aides described the problem as a blocked digestive system.

"The surgery lasted a little more than an hour, and doctors have indicated that the surgery was performed as expected without incident," said Pataki spokesman David Catalfamo.

"Governor Pataki is recovering in his room, and he is awake, alert and resting comfortably," Catalfamo added in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

Pataki was transported at 9 a.m. Tuesday from Hudson Valley Hospital, a small facility in Cortlandt Manor, where Pataki was operated on for appendicitis Thursday, to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, a hospital with far more resources and a larger staff of specialists. Four hours later, Pataki, 60, was back on the operating table to alleviate a blockage in his digestive system, Catalfamo said.

Pataki originally was expected to be discharged last Saturday from the hospital in Cortlandt Manor. But complications set in; his intestines were not functioning properly since Thursday's surgery, and doctors routinely do not release patients after having their appendix out until their digestive system is performing normally.

Earlier in the day, Catalfamo described the move to the new hospital as "a precautionary measure" to ensure Pataki "is in the most comprehensive facility available as his recovery continues."

No part of Pataki's intestines was removed, Catalfamo said.

Dr. Akram Talhouk, a general surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital, said blockages in a digestive system so soon after an appendix operation are fairly rare. "He's just unlucky," said Talhouk, a member of Buffalo Medical Group. Talhouk has not been treating the governor.

Talhouk said such obstructions can be caused by early scar tissue forming a "bridge" over a piece of the small intestine or inflammation or a break in the area around where the removed appendix was located.

Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue was in her office Tuesday, according to spokeswoman Karin Kennett.


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