Richmond schools chief has surgery

Frank Roberson: Richmond County schools superintendent's prognosis is good, but his recovery won't be immediate, his family said in a statement.

Richmond County schools Superintendent Frank Roberson is recovering after undergoing emergency surgery to relieve brain swelling and pressure, his family said Thursday night.

Roberson had surgery at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was admitted Tuesday night after complaining of severe headaches and fatigue.

At 9 p.m. Thursday, doctors reported the surgery went well, according to a family statement released shortly after 10 p.m. by school system spokesman Louis Svehla.

After Roberson was admitted to MCG, doctors observed him and "he was voluntarily placed under sedation in order to administer several tests," the statement said.

"It was determined that Dr. Roberson has an Arteriovenous Malformation in his cerebral region which may have been present since birth," the family said. "AVM, as it is commonly (known), is an abnormal collection of blood vessels (arteries and veins). Often, an AVM is not found until a hemorrhage occurs, such as what Dr. Roberson experienced. Fortunately, the bleeding has been successfully treated."

The statement adds that AVM is rare, affecting just 0.1 percent of the population.

Roberson's prognosis is good, but his recovery won't be immediate, his family says.

"His progress is expected to be gradual and steady over the course of the next few weeks," the statement said. "The family wishes to express its heartfelt appreciation for the thoughts, prayers and well wishes of family, friends, the Richmond County School System and community. Mrs. (Doris) Roberson, daughters and the Roberson family will continue to keep the community updated regarding Dr. Roberson's progress and (they solicit) your continued prayers."

Roberson, 55, was hired as Richmond County's schools superintendent in August. He had most recently served as superintendent of the Marlboro County (S.C.) School District and was associate and interim superintendent in Edgefield County. He worked for 27 years in his native Aiken County, rising to become associate superintendent in that school district.

Earlier Thursday, before Roberson's surgery, Richmond County Deputy Superintendent James Whitson said district employees were keeping Roberson in their thoughts.

"Dr. Roberson is on all of our minds," Whitson said. "I don't think any of us isn't going into a meeting saying, 'What would Dr. Roberson say?'

"He and his family are in everybody's prayers up here. We think of him, and we're pleased he's doing well."

Staff writer Tracey McManus contributed to this article.

 

Statement by Frank Roberson's family

Here is the text of an e-mail sent to news media at 10:04 p.m. Thursday by Richmond County schools spokesman Louis Svehla, in which he sent a statement by Superintendent Frank Roberson's family:

In the same spirit of communication and community partnership that has characterized Dr. Roberson's tenure as Superintendent, the family is releasing the following statement:

As it has been reported, Dr. Roberson was admitted to MCG Health on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, following complaints of severe headaches and fatigue.  He was conscious and responding well. Upon arrival, following observation by his medical providers, he was voluntarily placed under sedation in order to administer several tests.

It was determined that Dr. Roberson has an Arteriovenous Malformation in his cerebral region which may have been present since birth.  AVM, as it is commonly referred, is an abnormal collection of blood vessels. (arteries and veins).  Often, an AVM is not found until a hemorrhage occurs, such as what Dr. Roberson experienced.  Fortunately, the bleeding has been successfully treated.  According to medical specialists, AVM affects 0.1% of the population.

Test results were released this afternoon which demonstrated the need for emergency surgery.  The procedure is expected to reduce cranial pressure and swelling.  At approximately, 7:15 PM this evening, Dr. Roberson was taken to surgery.  At 9:00 PM, the doctors reported that the surgery went well.  His progress is expected to be gradual and steady over the course of the next few weeks.

The family wishes to express its heartfelt appreciation for the thoughts, prayers and well wishes of family, friends, the Richmond County School System and community.  Mrs. Roberson, daughters, and the Roberson family will continue to keep the community updated regarding Dr. Roberson's progress and solicits your continued prayers.

 

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