April 19, 1997 in Idaho

Batt Has Spinal Cyst Removed Governor Expected To Recover Quickly

Associated Press

Gov. Phil Batt went through a three-hour operation Friday to remove a spinal cyst from his lower back, but his doctor said afterward the governor came through the operation well and should make a quick recovery.

The operation, which began about 8 a.m. at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, was aimed at relieving back and leg pain the 70-year-old Batt suffered because of pressure on his spinal nerves.

Drs. John Havlina and Christian Zimmerman were the surgeons for the operation.

“He said the pain in his legs is gone,” Havlina said later.

Havlina said Batt’s good condition will help him recover quickly.

“I think he will just come right out of this and move along,” the doctor said.

He said Batt had two pea-sized cysts along his lower spine. Both were benign. The incision to remove them was about 4 inches long.

Havlina said Batt was suffering “unbearable pain,” and the problem had existed for years. He said Batt was supposed to have surgery about six years ago, but put it off because he was busy with the onion harvest on his Wilder farm.

Batt spokesman Frank Lockwood said the governor will work from his bed after 48 hours and plans to return to the Statehouse within two weeks.

Lockwood said Batt is in excellent overall health, and that doctors indicated he should not require more than the usual three to six weeks for full recovery. However, his physical activities will be limited during the initial stages of recovery.

Lt. Gov. Butch Otter will be acting governor during the weekend.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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