Ruppersberger will get another foot operation

August 12, 1998|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Bothered by constant pain and swelling two years after surgery to reconstruct his right ankle, Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger is scheduled for another operation on the same foot Tuesday at Union Memorial Hospital.

The new attempt to repair problems will keep the peripatetic politician at home for two weeks after the surgery. If all goes well, Ruppersberger and Dr. Mark S. Myerson, his surgeon, say he will be in a wheelchair by Labor Day and a walking cast by October.

Ruppersberger, a Democrat, has no opposition in the Sept. 15 primary election. Republican John J. Bishop is running against him in the Nov. 3 general election.

Usually an upbeat, excitable person, Ruppersberger acknowledged Sunday at a political picnic sponsored by Dundalk County Councilman Louis L. DePazzo that the discomfort in his right foot has gotten him down lately.

"I'm always in pain -- you get used to it," Ruppersberger said, referring to the long-term effects of his high school sports activities and the near-fatal 1975 auto accident that broke dozens of bones.

During a vacation last month in Oregon, his foot swelled so badly he couldn't get a shoe on, he said.

"It was all puffed up. I knew I had to deal with it," he said.

Myerson said the bone extracted from the county executive's hip and inserted into his right ankle in September 1996 at Johns Hopkins Hospital did not fuse, and additional nerve damage and a deformity associated with a flat foot problem have worsened.

"I'm going to reshape his foot," said Myerson, director of foot and ankle services at Union Memorial. He said the operation will involve a new bone graft, freeing the traumatized nerve, straightening the foot and permanently inserting metal plates and titanium screws.

Pub Date: 8/12/98

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