U.S. Rep. John Murtha is in an intensive care unit after suffering complications from gallbladder surgery.
“Congressman Murtha underwent a scheduled laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder last week,” spokesman Matt Mazonkey said. “Complications did arise from the surgery and he is currently at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.”
Mazonkey did not elaborate.
In December the 77-year-old was hospitalized for a gallbladder infection. Surgery was postponed until Thursday.
“We hope it’s nothing serious and we’re all praying for a quick recovery,” said Somerset County Democratic Party Chairman John Vatavuk.
Dr. Peter Go, a general surgeon at Somerset Hospital, said laparoscopic gallbladder surgery is a common procedure. In the 1980s there were several complications, but technology has made the surgery safer, Go said.
Go, who has not treated Murtha, said if someone is a diabetic, that could result in post-surgical complications. Other common complications include infection, bleeding and organ injury from the instrument used in the procedure, Go said.
“People have no issue getting through the procedure with no problems,” he said.
If there is an infection, it could spread to the pulmonary system, he said.
Murtha has already announced plans to seek a 19th term in office. On Feb. 20 he will become the longest serving congressmen in Pennsylvania’s history, starting his 37th year.