Thursday, March 5, 2009

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was readmitted to Howard University Hospital on Monday but is in good condition 10 days after his kidney transplant and three days after his initial hospital discharge, his spokeswoman Natalie Williams said at a news conference Wednesday.

Mr. Barry, who turns 73 on Friday, had been complaining about “extreme levels of discomfort” before Monday’s scheduled postoperation checkup, Ms. Williams said. The tests that doctors ran on Monday showed that there was a large amount of air in his abdominal cavity, prompting them to call him for readmission by 3 p.m. that day.

The discomfort and the air is a “direct result of the combination of medicines” that Mr. Barry has been taking, doctors said.

“The kidney itself is functioning as it should be at this time,” said Ms. Williams, who denied rumors of internal bleeding or organ rejection.

Returning to the hospital is “strictly for continued evaluation and strictly to be under the direct care of Dr. Callender,” Ms. Williams said, referring to Mr. Barry’s surgeon Dr. Clive O. Callender.

Mr. Barry had been expected to return to work on Tuesday but will remain in the hospital at least until Friday.

Mr. Barry, a Democrat and D.C. Council member for Ward 8, was discharged from Howard University Hospital on Feb. 27 after the Feb. 20 kidney transplant. Dr. Callender called the operation successful. His longtime friend, Ward 6 resident Kim Dickens, offered her healthy organ.

The former mayor’s 20-year history of kidney problems is the result of his diabetes and hypertension, Ms. Williams said. The National Kidney Association links these conditions and a few others, as well as some legal and illegal drug use as causes of kidney damage.

Mr. Barry was first elected in 1978. During his third term, in 1990, FBI cameras recorded him smoking crack in a hotel room. He was incarcerated for six months after the arrest and was re-elected in 1994 for a fourth four-year term.

In 2004 and again last year, Mr. Barry was elected to his current council position.

On Feb. 9, prosecutors sought to send him to jail for not filing his taxes for 2007, the eighth year in nine that Mr. Barry failed to do so. In 2006, he was put on three-year probation for not filing taxes from 1999 to 2004.

Ms. Williams was flanked by the Rev. Anthony Motley and director of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development Drew Hubbard at the news briefing. Mr. Hubbard said that he and Mr. Barry will continue working to freeze tuition and enrollment levels at the University of the District of Columbia. Mr. Hubbard said Mr. Barry is “ready to get back to serve the people.”

Mr. Motley spoke of Mr. Barry’s “great spirits,” and Ms. Williams said that a cutback in the number of visitors he can have at the hospital, to five people, should make it easier for him to rest until his health improves.

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