Collins undergoes surgery for removal of glass sliver


FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins, America's only female governor, underwent emergency surgery Wednesday in London for the removal of a sliver of glass found lodged in her small intestine.

Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes said surgeons removed about 10 centimeters of small intestine after they discovered a perforation. The operation was described as 'somewhat exploratory' surgery.


He quoted Dr. William Shand, the surgeon who performed the operation, as saying it was a routine operation with 'rather unusual circumstances.'

There were no complications, Hayes said, and the governor had regained consciousness following the three-hour operation. He said she was unaware of the details of the surgery.

Hayes said there was no indication how the glass became lodged in the governor's intestine, or how long it had been there.

He said she probably would spend about two weeks in the hospital and another week in England after her release. He said she would require up to six weeks of rest before returning to work.

Press secretary Ken Hoskins said Collins, 47, woke up early Wednesday with abdominal pains.

There had been speculation the governor was suffering from appendicitis because her white blood cell count was high, indicating the presence of an infection. But Hayes said her appendix was not affected.


Hayes said no problems with the governor's recovery were anticipated. He said she would remain in the recovery room for the remainder of the night.

Collins was admitted to the private, non-profit London Clinic early Wednesday.

Hayes quoted Natural Resources Secretary Charlotte Baldwin as saying the governor was 'confident and fully composed' before surgery, and having 'all the confidence in the world' in Shand, a staff surgeon at St. Bartholemew Hospital.

'She was anticipating a happy conclusion and I think that's what we have here tonight,' he said.

Collins was in England on a tour with other three other governors as part of a National Governors Association study of how Europe is handling the problem of acid rain.

Bill Collins, the governor's husband, left Kentucky late Wednesday afternoon and was expected to be in London Thursday morning. He said his wife had no signs of illness before leaving home.

Collins was elected in 1983, becoming the nation's only sitting woman governor. She presided over the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

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