Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) underwent back surgery at Mayo Clinic in October in what was the latest in a series of health scares, but his staff took a month to inform the public that he was still hospitalized.
“Governor Dayton’s doctor is pleased with how Friday’s surgery went and believes the procedure will strengthen the Governor’s legs, as intended,” Dayton’s staff said in an Oct. 14 press release, adding that he would “remain in the hospital for a few days.”
But on Thursday, a full month after his surgery, Dayton revealed that he was still hospitalized after experiencing “post-surgical complications,” The Star Tribune reports.
“It’s been a much longer stretch than I bargained or planned for,” said Dayton, who hopes to return to St. Paul by Thanksgiving.
Dayton’s final years in the governor’s mansion have been characterized by health issues, starting with an incident in which Dayton collapsed during his State of the State address. After the scare, Dayton revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, which he later beat.
While hospitalized, Dayton has been speaking with Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D-MN) to discuss the transition, though the two have yet to meet in person.
Dayton responded to critics after he passed out two years ago by saying that if he is “living” and “breathing,” then he “will be here until Jan. 2019.”
“Sorry to disappoint people but that is the way it is,” he said. There is currently no legal standard in Minnesota that allows for duties to be temporarily passed off to a subordinate if the governor is unable to perform.
As KSTP notes, Dayton’s communications team had been sending out press releases during his stay in the hospital that said he would be meeting “with commissioners and staff throughout the day,” but stipulated that the meetings would be “closed to the press.”
His staff didn’t reveal that he was still in the hospital until Thursday. Dayton was scheduled to make his first public statements (by phone) since entering the hospital from the Mayo Clinic Tuesday morning.
The Minnesota Sun reached out to Dayton’s staff for further comment on the matter, but didn’t receive a response in time for publication.
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