Mayor Menino healing despite injury

A physician treating Mayor Thomas M. Menino in a Boston hospital said Friday that the five-term executive is recovering from a viral infection ­despite sustaining a back injury while hospitalized.

Doctors were “very pleased with the progress” of the mayor until he developed significant pain in his lower back, said Dr. Dale Adler, vice chairman of the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where Menino is being treated.

“There is a compression fracture in one of the vertebra of his spine,” Adler said, describ­ing it as a modest but painful injury requiring no further treatment. By Thursday evening, the mayor “was up walking around again,” Adler said.


A number of factors could be responsible for the compression fracture, Adler said, but it probably was related to ­Menino’s illness and the way he was lying in his hospital bed.

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Doctors are not indicating when the 69-year-old will be discharged from the hospital, where he has spent a week, or how long he will need to convalesce before returning to City Hall. Adler said physicians are being cautious because they want to make sure Menino is sufficiently recovered from the back injury and capable of easily moving before releasing him.

“He is doing well,” Adler said. “He has gotten much ­better, stronger. We’re hopeful over the next few days that will continue, and he’ll be ready to get going.”

Menino developed a cough that heralded a viral infection while vacationing in Italy, leaving him extremely weak. His condition worsened on the ­return flight to Boston.

At the time he was admitted to the Brigham, Menino had ­developed a small blot clot in one of his legs, which doctors believe may have formed on the long flight home from Italy. Menino has been treated for the clot, Adler said, and seems to be doing well.


Before leaving for Italy, Menino had begun wearing gym shoes because his feet were swollen and sore. Adler said the pain in his feet is not related to his current hospitalization. The mayor’s aides have said he has poor circulation in his feet.

Menino was last in City Hall on Oct. 14, before departing for what was supposed to be a two-week anniversary trip to Italy with his wife, Angela. The couple have been married 46 years, and the vacation included a cruise to Sicily, where Angela Menino traces her heritage.

The couple had been scheduled to fly back to Boston on Oct. 28, but the mayor felt ill and returned home several days early. He sought medical care Oct. 26 and was admitted to the Brigham.

Over the past week, Menino has been in regular contact with top aides and received visits from Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis III, press secretary Dot Joyce, and others. During Hurricane Sandy, the mayor held regular conference calls with three of his top staff to remain apprised of the storm. On Thursday, at the hospital, he signed the City Council’s redistricting map after veto­ing two earlier plans.

“His mind has been terrific, as always,” Adler said. “He’s very active. He’s involved in every­thing that’s going on and with every person who comes into the room.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.