Menino returns home after infection

Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s infected elbow may have come from a scrape in a shower on a trip to Florence. Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s infected elbow may have come from a scrape in a shower on a trip to Florence. (John Gillooly for The Boston Globe)
By Stephen Smith
Globe Staff / November 28, 2010

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Mayor Thomas M. Menino was recuperating at his Hyde Park home last night after being released earlier in the day from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was treated for a bacterial infection in his left elbow.

The 67-year-old mayor — the longest-serving in Boston history — will continue to receive antibiotics at home as he convalesces. He could be back at his fifth-floor perch in City Hall by early this week, said his chief spokeswoman, Dot Joyce.

“We’ll see how this weekend goes with the treatment of antibiotics,’’ Joyce said. “He’s making a great recovery.’’

The mayor’s infection may have its roots in a trip to the Italian city of Florence. Menino scraped his elbow in the hotel shower there while attending an urban development conference. The mayor’s representatives have speculated that the cut then became infected.

He was admitted Tuesday to Brigham, where doctors diagnosed him with cellulitis, a skin infection, and septic bursitis in the left elbow, which results in bacteria penetrating a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between tissues. On Wednesday, he underwent a procedure to drain bacteria from the elbow. The orthopedic surgeon treating Menino has said she expects him to fully recover.

The mayor spent Thanksgiv ing in his room at Brigham, watching the Patriots romp past the Detroit Lions and visiting with family.

Menino is no stranger to Brigham. In 2003, he underwent a surgical procedure there to remove a cancerous lump from his back. The next year, he was back in the hospital, being treated for a painful case of Crohn’s disease, a chronic disorder of the digestive tract.

Then last year, just five days after being elected to an unprecedented fifth term as mayor, Menino stumbled while carrying trays of food outside his son’s house. A tendon connecting thigh muscles to the kneecap of his left leg snapped, and an orthopedic surgeon at Brigham reattached it. That injury left Menino hobbled for several weeks, requiring visits by a physical therapist and a pair of crutches to get around.

Since becoming mayor in 1993, Menino has been hospitalized at least nine times.

Stephen Smith can be reached at