Wallace Heads For Surgery In Colorado
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ Gov. George C. Wallace, hoping at last to end the pains of his paralysis, is going to Colorado for major surgery but plans to run Alabama’s state government from his bed.
Wallace, 65, is scheduled to undergo spinal surgery Wednesday to deaden nerves across part of his mid-section. The recently developed operation is aimed at blocking the persistent pain that has plagued Wallace since he was nearly assassinated in 1972.
He planned to leave Alabama Sunday, and direct his administration from the Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., during a two-week recovery period.
Wallace has been hospitalized four times for a total of seven weeks since he was inaugurated in January 1983.
The governor has been unable to walk since May 15, 1972, when 21-year-old Arthur Bremer hit him with five shots at close range during a rally in Laurel, Md. One of the bullets lodged in his spinal column.
His doctors said the operation should last about three or four hours under general anaesthesia and that Wallace probably will remain hospitalized for about two weeks.
Elvin Stanton, Wallace’s executive secretary, said the Democratic governor and former presidential candidate will not temporarily relinquish the duties or title of governor during general anaesthesia, as President Reagan did during his recent surgery.
″There is no state law that would allow it,″ said Stanton, ″and it’s not necessary anyway.″
The governor’s press secretary, Billy Joe Camp, went with security aides to Colorado on Friday and will remain with Wallace. Stanton said he and other key administration figures would remain in Montgomery.
Under Alabama’s Constitution, the office of governor passes at least temporarily to the lieutenant governor if the elected governor is out of the state for more than 20 consecutive days, but Wallace expects to beat that deadline.