- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 20, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had successful surgery Friday to repair her broken right elbow, but decisions on resuming her full schedule and travel may take several days, her chief of staff said.

Mrs. Clinton has not canceled a planned trip to Italy and Greece next week, which would include international meetings on Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Russia and NATO.

“At 7:30 a.m. this morning, Secretary Clinton underwent a two-hour surgery to successfully repair her fractured right elbow,” Cheryl D. Mills, chief of staff and a longtime confidante of Mrs. Clinton, said. “Her doctors at the George Washington University Hospital have advised her that they expect her to make a full recovery without lasting damage to her arm.”

The secretary fell while walking to her car in the State Department garage on her way to the White House late Wednesday. At the time, she was accompanied by Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“After the surgery, she returned to her home in Washington, where she will remain with her family through the weekend,” Ms. Mills said.

“She, President Clinton and [daughter] Chelsea are grateful for the many prayers and messages of good will they have received these past few days, and are so very thankful for the excellent care provided by the doctors, nurses and the staff of the George Washington University Hospital,” she added.

Mrs. Clinton worked from home Thursday. The State Department released a statement saying she was granting key benefits to gay diplomats, such as diplomatic passports and access to medical care and U.S. government jobs overseas to same-sex partners.

Next week, she is scheduled to attend the annual meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries in Trieste, Italy, as well as the first meeting of the NATO-Russia council since before the Georgia war last summer in Greece.

“Decisions about her schedule and travel will be made and announced in the days to come,” Ms. Mills said.

In private, however, officials suggested that the secretary will most likely go ahead with the trip.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Mrs. Clinton was under general anesthesia during the surgery, but that did not require her to temporarily transfer power to her deputy, James B. Steinberg. Mr. Kelly declined to say what pain or other medication she is taking.

He also said the department did not warn reporters about the surgery before it took place to protect Mrs. Clinton’s privacy. On Thursday, officials suggested that the operation would not occur until next week. Ms. Mills’ statement was released as soon as the secretary returned home, Mr. Kelly said.

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