June 9, 2011

Greg Mortenson’s wife calls the cops, doctors fix hole in his heart


Insane memoir fabulist Greg Mortenson is still up to no good, according to a new investigation by Newsweek‘s Mike Giglio. On April 25th:

[P]olice responded to a call from Mortenson’s home, in which his wife reported that he was “assaultive” and “screaming,” according to the report, which noted that Mortenson was under a physician’s care and “taking medications that contributed to the disturbance.” No injuries were reported, and Mortenson was allowed to remain at home under the care of his doctors and therapist.

In addition to this visit from the Bozeman police, Mortenson has also been visited by the U.S. secret service, which, along with protecting the president, is  “charged with investigating fraud at the federal level.” Another choice fact: after Mortenson was accused of wrongdoing, his Central Asia Institute charity hired the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, “with Karen Hughes, the former George W. Bush aide, leading the effort” to respond to the media crush.

Mortenson, Newsweek also reports, has finally had the heart surgery he hinted at when he was last seen in late April.

The day that [Jon] Krakauer published his report, April 20, Mortenson checked into the hospital with what he described as “a hole in the heart,” a ventricular condition that has ailed him for years, causing him to be short of breath. He was released days later to await what was expected to be an outpatient procedure. But last week, according to his spokeswoman, he was admitted to an out-of-town hospital, where he underwent open-heart surgery on Friday…. A high-ranking source at the local hospital [in Bozeman] who is well-versed in the field and spoke with the doctors who admitted Mortenson, says that on the night in question, at least, a hospital stay wasn’t required at all. “It was just a way to get out of the pressure,” the source says, adding that Bozeman doctors were wary of operating on such a local hero.

Anne Beyersdorfer, a Mortenson “family friend and communications consultant,” tells Newsweek that Mortenson’s heart condition “‘may have been a gift in a strange package’—it had allowed some time to retrench.”

Kelly Burdick is the executive editor of Melville House.