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Former Elks granted pre-jail surgery

After a medicial necessity hearing on Monday, April 4, in Saratoga County Court, a judge ruled that former Elks Frank Mihalek could have scheduled rotator cuff surgery before surrendering for his six month jail sentence after pleading guilty to a felony charge of falsifying business records in the first degree, according to Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy.

Mihalek was scheduled to begin his jail sentence today.

Mihalek said that he fell on March 11 at his residence and sustained an injury to his rotator cuff.

The judge concluded that if incarcerated, the cost of any surgery and follow up would be a taxpayer expense, a situation he wanted to avoid, according to Murphy's office. A follow-up hearing is scheduled for May 3.

Murphy's office argued against pre-jail surgery, saying Mihalek did not produce "sufficient medical documentation showing necessity" and requesting a second opinion.

"We strongly object as this type of surgery is typically elective and certainly not life threatening," said Murphy in a statement. "This appears to be yet aganother attempt by a convicted felon to delay his inevitable incarceration."

Mihalek submitted a written letter from Dr. Andrew Gerdeman of Capital Region Orthopedics which read that the surgery was medically necessary to "prevent further damage or loss of use."

If Mihalek hadn't been granted permission to receive the surgery prior to incarceration, the county would have had to bear the burden of paying for the surgery costs, physical therapy, all medical expenses and a guard for during his time in the hospital.

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