Fort Smith mayor out of hospital; ‘Out and about’

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 38 views 

Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker was released from the hospital earlier this week after almost four weeks in St. Edward Mercy Medical for treatment of dehydration and a blood clot in his leg.

Baker, 71, entered St. Edward Mercy Medical on Aug. 18 with severe dehydration. In an Aug. 27 statement from his office, the dehydration resulted in kidney problems that weren’t severe but did require time to correct.

On Sept. 9, the Mayor’s office issued a statement saying he had recovered from the dehydration but would have to stay a few days longer to dissolve a blood clot in his leg.

“When the clot has been dissolved, he will be released from the hospital. The Mayor is looking forward to returning to his duties as mayor. When released, an announcement will be made,” according to the Sept. 9 statement.

However, it is unclear when Baker was released because he decided to not issue a release statement.

No release is planned according to an e-mail note from his secretary, Susan Petersen: “He has not mentioned issuing a formal press release to me. However, in speaking with him on the phone yesterday, I asked him what he wanted me to convey to the media if anyone contacted me. He said, ‘Tell them that I’m out of the hospital and that I’m out and about.’”

A phone message left Tuesday at Baker’s home was not returned.

The recent hospitalization is Baker’s second in 9 months. He entered the hospital Nov. 15 after becoming weak from an the infection. Baker was in the hospital several days to recuperate and convalesce after the illness.

Baker successfully underwent surgery and chemo for colon cancer in late 2007.

Baker, now in his fifth four-year term, announced Sept. 24 he would seek a sixth term as mayor. Fort Smith businessman and former Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority Director Sandy Sanders is also running for the mayoral post.