Otter released from hospital following back surgery, infection

UPDATED, 7.28.17 to reflect that Gov. Butch Otter was released from the hospital on Thursday. 

Gov. Butch Otter was released from a Boise hospital Thursday after recovering from back surgery and a subsequent infection, his staff announced.

Although Otter had been continuously hospitalized at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center since July 15, he served in his full capacity as governor this week, spokesman Jon Hanian said.

However, Lt. Gov. Brad Little stepped in to serve as acting governor four times during Otter’s hospitalization, including when Otter was in surgery and while he was taking pain medication, Hanian said.

“He’s doing better, but still under the doctors’ care,” Hanian said, before Otter’s discharge. “We’re hopeful — and he’s hopeful more than anyone — he can get out this week, but they are being very, very cautious about dealing with the infection that he had in the spine.”

Otter originally underwent surgery for a ruptured disc on July 7, which led to him missing a planned “Capital for a Day” event staged in Tetonia that same day.

Otter underwent a second back surgery on July 14, and then developed the infection.

During his hospitalization, Otter has received regular briefings from his staff, and issued a statement regarding a Supreme Court ruling upholding his veto of a bill that would have repealed sales tax on groceries. On Wednesday, Otter also appointed a new member to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation’s citizen’s oversight board.

“The governor is lucid, he’s getting frequent updates from the office and hoping the doctor may release him sometime this week, but that timetable is up to them,” Hanian said.

Otter’s staff plans to issue another update on Friday. Hanian anticipates Otter will “have a light schedule until he is back to full speed.”

Otter, 75, was first elected governor in 2006, and is serving in his third term. He is not seeking re-election next year.


Clark Corbin

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