Bishop David Choby, after consultation with his medical team and his family, has been transferred from Saint Thomas West Hospital to a location where his medical care will continue.
The family has asked that the bishop’s location not be disclosed.
The bishop was hospitalized after a fall at his home on Feb. 7. After some initial positive results in his treatment, complications developed.
In a letter from the bishop read at all Masses the weekend of Feb. 24-25, Bishop Choby explained: “As many of you know, over the past four years I have sustained two falls. The first resulted in a broken arm from which I was able to recover while continuing my ministry and duties as your bishop. This second and most recent fall has caused damage to my spinal column including fractures of the vertebrae, which are the supporting structures of the spinal cord. During the course of treatment, I developed an infection in the bloodstream. This complication has been the cause of my stay in the intensive care unit. The antibiotics have done their job in stabilizing my vital signs but recent tests have shown that bacteria has begun to grow in my heart.”
On March 1, the bishop’s transfer from the hospital was announced. “His relocation is not a reflection on the state of his health, which remains the same, but rather a personal preference,” said Rick Musacchio, communications director for the Diocese of Nashville.
In his Feb. 25 letter, the bishop indicated that he was not able to fulfill his responsibilities at that time and invoked a rarely used provision of canon law declaring the diocese to be impeded and transferring administration of the diocese to Father David Perkin, Vicar General of the diocese. However, Bishop Choby has reversed that declaration and has resumed the responsibilities of his office as Bishop of Nashville.
To assist the bishop, the Vicars General, Father Perkin and Father Dexter Brewer, will address day-to-day matters concerning the administration of the diocese. Other matters requiring Bishop Choby’s direct attention, as set forth under canon law, will be addressed by him.
The bishop’s health problems have been lingering for several years. In September 2010, he felt discomfort in his left arm, and testing showed a blockage in his heart. He underwent a seven-bypass heart surgery.
Due to complications from the surgery, the bishop suffered a loss of strength in his arms and hands, and that and other health issues, including diabetes, led to his use of a walker.
On Feb. 2, he was hospitalized briefly after he became on ill while celebrating Mass for Catholic school students as part of Catholic Schools Week. He was back in the hospital after suffering a fall at the back door of his home on Feb. 7. In the fall, he suffered a cut on the back of his head and damaged his vertebrae.
He was taken by ambulance to Skyline Medical Center for initial treatment and later transferred to Saint Thomas West, where his regular doctors practice.
The bishop underwent a series of tests to determine the extent of the injury to his back when a serious infection developed.
In his Feb. 25 letter, Bishop Choby expressed his gratitude to the people of the diocese. “I express my thanks to all the people who have sent their prayers and words of support during this hospitalization. I want all of you to know it has been the happiest and most rewarding years of my life serving you, the Church and almighty God as your bishop,” he wrote. “You remain in my prayers and thoughts.”