June 4, 1995 in Nation/World

Reeve Will Undergo Spinal Fusion

Associated Press

Christopher Reeve remained in serious but stable condition Saturday as he awaited surgery to fuse two vertabrae fractured in a horse-riding accident, hospital officials said.

University of Virginia Medical Center administrator Cary Burton said there was no change in the “Superman” star’s condition.

The actor has pneumonia, but the infection is subsiding and doctors plan to go ahead with the operation Monday.

Reeve, 42, was paralyzed when he was thrown headfirst from his horse during a riding competition last weekend in Culpeper.

Reeve broke his neck, but his spinal cord wasn’t severed, which means he could regain some body movement, Dr. John Jane said Friday.

The actor still is unable to breathe on his own but is in no pain and has some sensation in his chest, Jane said.

He said the stress of the spinal fusion surgery sometimes causes fatal heart attacks, but death occurs in less than one in 25 cases.

After the operation, the neurosurgeon said, Reeve probably can be placed in an upright sitting position in his bed.

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