DOT's Mineta returns to hospital

| 1/9/2003

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta returned to Walter Reed Army Medical Centers Jan. 7 for treatment of back pain, a day after he left the facility to attend a Cabinet meeting.

Mineta has been holding meetings and telecommuting from his hospital bed, according to a DOT statement.

In August 2002, Mineta underwent a surgical procedure at Walter Reed intended to relieve persistent back pain. Following a trip to visit Coast Guard members at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, over Thanksgiving, the pain reappeared and the secretary returned to the hospital.

Further tests revealed a staph infection had developed. Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, is also contributing to his discomfort. The infection has been gradually responding to antibiotics, DOT said. Once the infection is treated, he will undergo a surgical procedure to counteract the scoliosis.

Mineta's prognosis is very good and he expects to resume office duties late next month, DOT said.