Mayor recovering from bypass surgery

After undergoing heart bypass surgery Friday in Honolulu, Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste is recovering well at Queen’s Medical Center, county officials said yesterday.

Doctors recommended the procedure after routine medical testing last Monday, said Gary Heu, the mayor’s administrative assistant.

“When I spoke with him (yesterday) morning, we chatted and he told me he was grateful for the many expressions of thoughts and prayers that he had received,” said Heu, who is serving as mayor pro tem during the mayor’s recovery.

Baptiste is expected to be released from the hospital soon and will be back on Kaua‘i later this week, states a news release from his office.

Heu said he was unable to provide more details on why the surgery was needed or when the mayor would resume work.

“He’s really looking forward to getting back on island and getting back to work,” he said. “We’ll leave the decision on when in the hands of the physicians.”

The Republican mayor’s second term ends in December 2010.

Kaua‘i County Councilman Tim Bynum said he has faith in Heu and other department heads in Baptiste’s administration to carry out the day-to-day county operations during the mayor’s absence.

“We’re all praying for his speedy recovery,” he said.

Bypass surgery is typically performed to relieve chest pain and to prevent heart attacks caused by blocked coronary arteries, according to the American Heart Association.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 bypass surgeries are performed annually in the United States, the association’s Web site states.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A Queen’s Medical Center spokesperson said there is a hospital policy of no live plants, including flowers, on the cardiac floor where the mayor is recovering, but balloons are accepted.

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