New Jersey's Governor Remains In Critical Condition

Monday, April 16th 2007, 7:21 am

By: News On 6

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Gov. Jon S. Corzine faces more surgery on his broken leg, the third operation he's needed since an auto crash left him in critical condition.

Doctors at Cooper University Hospital said the surgery scheduled for Monday will be similar to one they performed Saturday, when they cleaned a 6-inch wound in his left thigh. On Sunday, he underwent a procedure to remove fluid that had collected outside his left lung.

The procedure, which lasted less than 15 minutes, is common for patients who sustain a number of rib fractures, and doctors said it was successful, said the governor's spokesman, Anthony Coley.

Corzine was injured Thursday when the sport utility vehicle he was riding in crashed on the Garden State Parkway in Galloway Township, just north of Atlantic City.

The SUV, which was being driven by a state trooper, was hit by another vehicle that swerved to avoid a pickup truck, sending the governor's vehicle into a guard rail.

Corzine had been on his way to a meeting at his mansion in Princeton between radio show host Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team.

The 60-year-old Corzine _ who apparently was not wearing his seat belt in the front passenger's seat _ also broke 12 ribs, his breastbone and suffered a broken collarbone. He also had a head laceration and a minor fracture on a lower vertebra.

Corzine remains in critical condition and on a ventilator. However, family members said he recognized them and responded to visitors when they saw him Sunday.

``When you talk to him, he can recognize your voice, that's my feeling,'' said Joshua Corzine, the eldest of Corzine's two sons. ``He definitely responds when you let him know who you are.''

Joshua Corzine, 30, who spoke to reporters at the hospital along with his sister, Jennifer Corzine-Pisani, 36, and brother Jeffrey, 24, also thanked the medical staff for the care they've given Corzine and thanked well-wishers from across the country. The governor's children and his girlfriend, Sharon Elghanayan, said they were feeling positive about his condition.

``We're giving him the thumbs-up right now, so we're really feeling good about what's happening,'' Corzine-Pisani said.

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