Mayor: Maggie Daley 'strong' after surgery

Maggie Daley, file photo

April 21, 2011 4:41:06 AM PDT
Chicago's first lady, Maggie Daley, remained hospitalized Wednesday after having surgery to replace a metal rod in her leg.

On Tuesday, doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital replaced a titanium rod in her leg that had reportedly caused discomfort. That rod was inserted to help strengthen a bone weakened by cancer. The procedure took two and a half hours.

"My wife is very strong. She's not going to let anybody set her back. She's going to move forward," said Mayor Richard Daley, who canceled all public events until Wednesday to be with his wife.

Dr. Bradley Merk performed the surgery on Mrs. Daley's thigh bone. In a statement released by the mayor's office, Dr. Merk said,"We needed to restabilize the femur by replacing the metal rod...We hope and expect that this will result in a decrease in much of the pain she had been experiencing in recent months."

"When you have a rod placed in your leg, you have to be very careful. You don't know if something may happen, and thank God you have good hospitals and good doctors," said Mayor Daley.

The original metal rod was implanted more than a year ago following radiation treatment for the cancer Maggie Daley has been battling for nine years.

Such rod replacements are not common but also not unusual, said Dr. Steven Gitelis, a surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. Though he isn't treating Mrs. Daley, Dr. Gitelis says a larger implant can relieve pain.

"It's a strength and stability problem, and sometimes we solve that by simply putting in a bigger rod. But again, I don't know if that is the case here," Dr. Gitelis told ABC7.

The mayor is hopeful her hospital stay will be short.

"A couple days with the -- with the placing the rod in there and things like that. They will get her up today and she will be walking," said Daley.

Hours before being hospitalized on Saturday, Mrs. Daley and her husband joined Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Friday night fundraiser. The night before, Mrs. Daley was spotted at a fundraiser for President Obama.

"All last week she was very, very busy. I mean, talk about a busy person. She doesn't let this deter her from her life mission of helping young children and helping families in Chicago. No, nothing will ever deter her on that mission," said Mayor Daley.

"The goal of the surgery is to create enough strength and stability of the bone, and you can walk then immediately. So hopefully she could be upright and walking quickly," said Dr. Gitelis.

Mrs. Daley may be able to resume her very active schedule soon, though her doctor says she will have to undergo physical therapy. She is expected to remain hospitalized at least for a few more days.