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Gov. Dayton to return home after long hospital stay

Governor Dayton has back surgery and suffered complications that damaged his lungs.
(Credit: KARE 11)

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he expects to be home before Thanksgiving after complications from back surgery required more than a month of hospitalization.

The 71-year-old Democrat tells Minnesota Public Radio News that his two back surgeries at Mayo Clinic were successful and he feels much better thanks to physical therapy. Dayton said last week that post-surgery complications had damaged his lungs.

Dayton hasn't been seen publicly since before his first surgery on Oct. 12. The procedures were to fuse vertebrae to improve stability of his back and legs, and followed three similar back surgeries earlier. Dayton also had surgery last year for prostate cancer and is in remission.

During a phone interview Governor Dayton said, "I'm going home back to the resident tomorrow. Very excited about doing so, especially that Thursday is Thanksgiving and it's the last family gathering we have at the residence during my time there, so it's very special ... I've been limited in my activities and mobility by the damage to my lungs. They've improved considerably in the last two weeks, to the point where I seldom use any oxygen at all ... So I'm excited and ready to go home. Looking forward to seeing my grandson and my dogs. And everybody else."

He did not seek a third term. He'll be succeeded in January by Democrat Tim Walz .

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