- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe continued working from his hospital bed Wednesday, his third day out of the office as he was treated for injuries suffered on an African safari over the Christmas holiday.

McAuliffe was thrown from a horse during a family vacation in Tanzania and broke seven ribs. He entered Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond on Monday after suffering shortness of breath.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, McAuliffe said he would remain in the hospital Wednesday night and hoped to get back to his office Thursday.

After a two-hour surgical procedure, doctors drained 1½ liters of blood from his right lung, which was punctured in the accident.

“It has been excruciatingly painful for four weeks,” McAuliffe said. Nevertheless, he’s been keeping a full schedule of meetings with staff and Cabinet members. He’s even been making economic development calls, he said.

“I’m not just gonna sit here,” he said. “I’ve got a job to do.”

McAuliffe said he had ridden horses before, but the safari horse he rode in Tanzania was a challenge.

“This was a horse that can outrun lions,” he said. “This horse was way out of my league.”

McAuliffe sought medical attention in Tanzania after his fall, but was told he only had bruised ribs, he said. He stayed in Africa seven more days, then flew directly to the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Back in Richmond last week, doctors discovered that the ribs were broken. Nevertheless, the governor delivered his hour-long State of the Commonwealth address to the General Assembly, showing no obvious signs of discomfort.

On his way to give a Martin Luther King Day speech Monday in Norfolk, a monitoring device showed his blood oxidation level had dropped to a dangerously low level. He gave the speech, then returned to Richmond and entered the hospital.

Spokesman Brian Coy said McAuliffe’s doctors are pleased with his progress.

There has been no consideration of any transfer of power while the governor is away, Coy said. “It’s not the type of injury that would have triggered that,” he said.

The 57-year-old Democrat was vacationing with his wife, Dorothy, and their five children. Their oldest daughter, Dori, works for a nonprofit in Zambia.

The Virginia Constitution provides for the lieutenant governor to assume the governor’s duties if the governor notifies the leaders of the Assembly in writing that he is unable to do his job.

Quentin Kidd, a political scientist at Christopher Newport University, said there is no indication such a transfer was required in this case.

“He’s clearly not incapacitated, and his hospital room is two blocks from the Governor’s Mansion,” Kidd said.

But Kidd said he is troubled that there was no public announcement about McAuliffe’s injuries for more than three weeks.

“There was a lack of transparency,” he said. “When you’re the governor, you’re managing the state day to day, and the public needs to know you’re able to do it.”

When other governors have been hospitalized, sometimes their power has been transferred and sometimes not.

In 2007, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine transferred power to the Senate president before being sedated for surgery on the leg he broke in a near-fatal car crash. But in 2006, New York Gov. George Pataki kept tending to state business from the hospital when he had intestinal surgery.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam said he was told about McAuliffe’s accident shortly after it happened, but there was never any question about the governor’s ability to carry out his duties.

Northam visited the governor Wednesday. “He’s doing well. He’s working hard,” Northam said. “He’s more anxious than anybody to get back.

“He’s a dedicated and determined man.”

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