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Governor in hospital for leg surgery

Times Staff Writer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital Sunday in preparation for surgery early this morning on his right leg -- broken in a skiing accident in Sun Valley, Idaho, the governor’s office announced.

Schwarzenegger’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, said in a prepared statement that the surgical procedure planned for the governor was “relatively common” and was expected to last two hours.

While Schwarzenegger is under anesthesia, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante will assume the duties of governor.

Schwarzenegger will take over once he gets medical clearance from his doctors, an aide said.

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This is expected to happen once the anesthesia wears off.

Schwarzenegger’s staff would not identify the hospital, citing security reasons. Ehrhart, based in Santa Monica, said Schwarzenegger would be held for observation for three days and then would be able to walk using crutches.

Full recovery is expected to take eight weeks.

The surgical procedure involves the use of orthopedic cables and screws to help the bone heal, Ehrhart said.

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“I have spoken to the governor several times since the skiing accident occurred, and he is very comfortable,” the doctor said. “The governor has already been admitted to the hospital for standard pre-operation procedures, and I am confident he will have a speedy recovery from this routine surgery.”

Aides said the governor’s injury would not delay his swearing-in for his second term, which begins Jan. 5.

Ehrhart has operated on Schwarzenegger before.

According to the governor’s personal website, Ehrhart was one of two physicians who treated Schwarzenegger for a torn rotator cuff at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica in January 2003 -- eight months before Schwarzenegger entered the recall campaign. Schwarzenegger had injured his shoulder while filming a stunt for the movie “Terminator 3.”

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peter.nicholas@latimes.com


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