Clinton faces surgery after fracturing arm in a fall

By Mark Landler
New York Times / June 19, 2009
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WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will undergo surgery to repair a fractured right elbow, caused when she slipped and fell on her way to a White House meeting on Wednesday evening, the State Department said yesterday.

Clinton, 61, was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where doctors determined the break would require an operation, said a State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley. “She is at home, resting comfortably, or uncomfortably,’’ he said.

Crowley said Clinton was reading papers and making calls. But she canceled her public schedule, which included an appearance with actress Angelina Jolie at an event marking World Refugee Day and an awards ceremony at the American Foreign Service Association.

The mishap occurred as Clinton was walking to her car in the basement of the State Department. She was headed to a meeting with President Obama, accompanied by the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke.

After Clinton fell, Holbrooke said, “She struggled to get up to go to the meeting, but the pain was very intense.’’ Still lying on the ground, she instructed Holbrooke to go without her and reminded him to brief the president about a visit to Afghanistan planned by the State Department’s new ambassador for women’s issues, Melanne Verveer.

“She said, ‘Go to the meeting, that’s an order,’ ’’ Holbrooke said. Clinton’s surgery has not been scheduled, officials said, throwing her travel plans into doubt. She is scheduled to go to a meeting next week of foreign ministers of Group of Eight countries in Trieste, Italy, as well as a European security meeting on the Greek island of Corfu.