Romanian president returns to Bucharest after surgery in Vienna hospital

Basescu, 55, had flown to Austria on May 8, for surgery on a slipped disc at Vienna's General Hospital and spent a week in the hospital there to recuperate.

He returned to Romania and will continue recuperation in the Elias hospital for up to two weeks. A three-room apartment was set up in the hospital for the president, who is expected to continue working, news television Realitatea reported.

Doctors said Basescu will need up to a year to make a full recovery.

Responding to criticism for seeking treatment abroad, Basescu said he and his family decided to take the smaller risk, the AP reports.

Basescu said the operation in Vienna cost his family Ђ21,900 (US$28,200).

He had gone to a Bucharest hospital May 7 complaining of back pain. Doctors said he had a slipped disc that required immediate surgery.

Basescu initially was scheduled to have surgery in Bucharest, but his condition worsened and the decision was made to transfer him to Vienna for surgery, officials said.

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