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Bedside Government


As reported, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter underwent hip resurfacing surgery several weeks ago. He turned over the reigns of power to Lt. Gov. Jim Risch while he was on the operating table, but since then has been running the state from his ranch in Star.

While Jon Hanian, Otter's press secretary, didn't know what specific pain killers the governor was on, he did say Otter is "completely coherent."

Otter, 65, was kept in the hospital for nearly a week, a precaution against the risk of infection. Otter's doctor, orthopedic surgeon Collin Poole, was unavailable to comment by press time.

While he's at home and looking toward his impending physical therapy, the state government is coming to him. Thanks to telephone, Internet and the occasional in-person visit, Otter is still making the daily decisions, Hanian said.

There is no scheduled return to the office for the time being.

"We're not going to rush this process," Hanian said. "He'll be back in the office when he feels ready.

"Now, we're trying to give him the space he needs to recover," he said.

So, exactly what is hip resurfacing? Hanian provided BW with a handily little interactive Web site detailing the sometimes-graphic specifics of the procedure, still not commonly done in the United States.

Basically, instead of replacing the entire hip joint, the top of a patient's own femur is ground down and fitted with a metal cap, which fits into the metal cup placed in the hip joint.

There are lots of gory specifics, but why read about it when you can do it? Head to and grab the virtual scalpel to complete an online surgery.

Join the dashing digital Dr. Mark as he guides you through the surgery. From dislocating the patient's hip to cutting an incision, grinding bone, drilling, cementing, soaking up blood and even stapling the skin, you're in the doctor's seat. And the whole time, be sure to visualize the governor on the table.