Menino missed while surgeons repair his leg

Mayor Thomas Menino, who is recovering from a broken leg, missed opening day of the Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden for the first time in two decades on Saturday.
Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
Mayor Thomas Menino, who is recovering from a broken leg, missed opening day of the Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden for the first time in two decades on Saturday.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino missed opening day of the Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden for the first time in two decades Saturday morning, and he was not present Saturday night at the Boston Marathon Mayor’s Reception, where he was to be honored.

Menino had planned to spend his weekend surrounded by constituents at high-profile events marking the traditional beginning of spring in Boston. Instead, he found himself back at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, recovering from surgery on his leg, which he broke in a fall Friday — another setback in his long recovery from several ailments.

Orthopedic surgeons operated Saturday morning on the mayor’s right leg, stabilizing a bone fractured Friday when he fell during a visit to a school.


His son, Tom Menino Jr., and grandson, also named Thomas, were scheduled to appear in his place Saturday night at what would have been his final Mayor’s Reception, an annual event at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

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Thomas Grilk, executive director of marathon organizer the Boston Athletic Association, lamented the Saturday night absence of a man he called “a supporter, a colleague, a fan, and a friend” in a statement.

“When we lose the mayor at the reception, and especially at the marathon, we lose a piece of ourselves — an important part,” Grilk said. “A world-class event can only thrive in an environment created by a world-class leader.”

Menino’s press secretary, Dot Joyce, said Saturday that Menino will be released from the hospital “not today, but soon.” She said she was unsure whether he would attend the marathon on Monday.

Menino probably will be unable to return immediately to his home in the Readville section of Hyde Park, Joyce said. He moved back into the home only three weeks ago after a period of recovery from other health issues.

“He’ll most likely need to go to the Parkman House for a little while,” Joyce said, referring to the city-owned Greek Revival mansion on Beacon Hill where Menino stayed from December to late March.


Unlike his Readville home, the Parkman House is equipped with an elevator, making it easier for the mayor to get around.

Joyce said Saturday afternoon that the 70-year-old mayor was conscious and alert after surgery, resting in bed with his ankle elevated, visited by friends and family.

“He’s trying to be jovial and make jokes with the nurses,” Joyce said. “He’s himself. He’s doing great.”

The surgery, which lasted less than an hour, included the placement of a plate and screws to repair a spiral fracture to Menino’s right fibula, the smaller of the lower leg’s two long bones, according to a statement from surgeons Dr. Mitchel B. Harris and Dr. Michael J. Weaver. The mayor will wear a walking boot and use crutches for “the next couple of months,” the surgeons said, but is expected to fully recover.

“It was really a simple procedure,” Joyce said. “The doctors were very happy. It actually took less time than they thought it would.”


On Saturday morning, the mayor’s wife, Angela, attended the Swan Boat launch and took the first boat ride with kindergarten students from Ellis Mendell Elementary School in Roxbury and Chittick Elementary School in Mattapan.

Lyn Paget, whose family has operated the Swan Boats since 1877, said Menino was missed, but she was glad his wife could be there.

“It’s wonderful that Mrs. Menino was able to attend,” she said. “She obviously has other things on her mind today.”

Paget, 52, described Menino as a “champion of green spaces” and someone who appreciates the city’s history.

“He respects those important traditions that are a big part of Boston’s character,” she said. “We hope he’ll come down for a ride later this summer.”

Paget wished Menino a speedy recovery and said he will have “lifetime free rides” on the Swan Boats.

Menino was visiting the Lee School in Dorchester on Friday when he twisted his ankle and fell. The five-term mayor has walked with a cane, sometimes haltingly, since his release from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in December following a lengthy stay at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

He was initially hospitalized last October after cutting short a vacation to Italy with his wife. Diagnosed with a blood clot, and later with a severe respiratory infection, Menino sustained a compression fracture in a vertebra while in the hospital, prolonging his stay.

In November, as he was being transferred to Spaulding, Menino’s doctors said he had been ­diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He moved into the Parkman House just before Christmas, as he continued physical therapy to rebuild strength lost in his legs during the long hospitalization.

Long known for his visibility at neighborhood events and one-on-one interactions with city residents, Menino announced last month that he would not seek a sixth term because his health prevented him from being as active as he had been in the past.

“I am back to a mayor schedule, but not a Menino schedule,” he said on March 28.

Globe Correspondent Dan Adams contributed to this report. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.