Ted Williams `on the mend,' cardiologist says

Baseball

January 26, 2001|By BOSTON GLOBE

NEW YORK - All his IV infusion lines are gone, he's being weaned off his respirator, his heart is up and running, and Ted Williams is "on the mend," his doctor reported yesterday.

The Boston Red Sox legend has been getting support from across America, including a phone call from President Bush and a banana nut bread sent over by fellow Hall of Famer Bob Feller. "I feel like I'm a switchboard," said Williams' son, John Henry, who also fielded calls former manager Tom Lasorda and Dom DiMaggio, who played alongside Williams.

On the medical front, the 82-year-old Williams has taken "a real step forward," said Dr. Jeffrey Borer, his cardiologist. "In terms of the current phase of his recovery, he's already made it. His heart is doing what it has to do.

"This is the period when we could expect non-cardiac problems to become important difficulties and they really haven't been yet. That doesn't mean they won't become so."

The next critical step is for Williams to begin talking, which Borer said "is just a matter of time ... he attempts to speak now." The ability to take in food through his mouth rather than tubes in his stomach and arm also is likely to happen soon.

Williams underwent open-heart surgery two weeks ago, spending 9 1/2 hours in the operating room.

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