DiMaggio Stable After Setback
Dec. 01, 1998
Joe DiMaggio is having a rocky recovery from lung cancer surgery.
After a weekend of intensive treatment, the 84-year-old baseball great was recovering from a lung infection that one of his doctors called a ``serious setback.''
``We have every hope that he will survive, but anything can happen,'' said Dr. Earl Barron, who heads the six-member team treating DiMaggio at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. ``Considering his age, it's going to be a long road back for him.''
Barron said this morning that DiMaggio was ``stable,'' and there was nothing new to report.
DiMaggio developed the infection on Friday, but his temperature and white blood cell count were back to normal on Monday.
``He takes two steps forward and one back,'' Barron said.
DiMaggio, who remains in intensive care, wanted the breathing tube in his throat removed so he could talk, the doctor said.
``He was waving at me to take it out,'' Barron said, adding that he declined to remove it and told DiMaggio that a pulmonary specialist would make that decision.
DiMaggio has had several setbacks since undergoing surgery Oct. 14 to remove a cancerous tumor from his right lung.
His lungs were drained at least twice in October when they filled with fluid from an infection.
On Nov. 16, DiMaggio's blood pressure dropped precipitously, prompting a Catholic priest to be summoned to give him the last rites.
He was improving last week, and was visited for his 84th birthday on Wednesday by relatives, including his brother Dom. On Thanksgiving Day, he was buoyed by a visit from his great granddaughters, Valerie, 9, and Vanessa, 11.