Mayor Thomas Menino remains hospitalized indefinitely while doctors perform more tests

Mayor Thomas M. Menino will remain hospitalized indefinitely while doctors continue to perform tests to determine the source of the most recent pain in his back, the mayor’s spokeswoman said on Friday.

Menino has been at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for three weeks with a variety of ailments that have included an upper respiratory infection and a blood clot that traveled from his leg to his lungs. While hospitalized, Menino suffered a compression fraction in one of the vertebra in his spine.

“The mayor was feeling a bit better today,” said the spokeswoman, Dot Joyce, on Friday after returning from the hospital. “He was up and signing things.”

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Doctors have not said when Menino might be released from the hospital, Joyce said. He recently canceled a breakfast fund raiser that had been scheduled for Nov. 20.

Menino’s staff has said that the mayor has been running the city from a hospital room since Oct. 26, when he cut short a vacation in Italy and returned home to seek medical treatment. On Friday, Menino sat in a chair and signed several documents, Joyce said. The paperwork included a grant for the fire department, the transfer of money into an reserve account for collective bargaining, and an ordinance that will change how rental housing units are inspected.

A few city department heads have visited the mayor, Joyce said, but she declined to identify them by name.

“It’s a hospital room,” Joyce said. “We’re trying to limit the number of people in and out.”

At a press conference earlier this week, doctors said that Menino had made significant progress but remained hospitalized for a few extra days for rehabilitation. During that stretch, he endured another setback, suffering what doctors described as a fresh surge of pain in his back.

The five-term mayor has not set foot in City Hall since Oct. 14, when he left for what was supposed to be a two-week trip to Italy with his wife. Menino, 69, must decide by spring whether he will run another term in 2013.

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