Update: Kirk’s Doctor Issues Prognosis

Senator’s ability to “speak, understand and think” should not be reduced.

(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) The doctor treating Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) expressed confidence today his ability to “speak, understand and think” will not be impaired but he could have physical impairments, according to reports on WBBM radio.

Kirk suffered a stroke Saturday on the right side of his brain which controls the use of the left side of his body, according to Dr. Richard Fessler of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the neurosurgeon who treated Kirk.

“Fortunately, the stroke was not the left side of his brain, in which case, it would affect his ability to speak, understand and think,” Fessler said, according to WBBM. “So we’re very hopeful that when we get through all of his recovery, all of those functions will be intact and that he should be able to do very well.” At this point Fessler will not predict when Kirk might return to work.

Read the full WBBM story here.


(Earlier) , 52, is recovering from surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to relieve swelling around his brain as a result of a stroke suffered Saturday, according to a statement from his office.

“The surgery was successful,” a spokesperson said in the release. “Due to his young age, good health and the nature of the stroke, doctors are very confident in the Senator's recovery over the weeks ahead."

Senator Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital Saturday, where doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck, according to the release. He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where further tests revealed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke.

, who succeeded Kirk in Congress when Illinois’ junior senator was elected to the Senate, expressed his wishes for a speedy recovery.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kirk and his family today,” Dold said. “I would like to thank the medical professionals for their excellent work and their immediate actions to care for the Senator.”

Gary January 24, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I don't believe in unilateral disarmament.
Marc Bulandr January 24, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I like what David Axelrod, connected heavily to Barack Obama, had to say about Mark Kirk via twitter last night. "Sen. Kirk's illness reminds us that there are things that transcend campaigns and politics. My thoughts are with him for a full recovery."
Debbie Saran January 24, 2012 at 08:52 PM
With the utmost respect, I disagree, Robert. Northwestern Memorial's emergency room and treatment floors are filled with under insured and uninsured patients.....and because of its downtown location, probably as much if not more than any other hospital in Chicago, with the exception of Stroger Hospital. Care is provided to all who walk in its doors. I, along with my family, send our prayers and wish Senator Kirk a speedy recovery.
Brad Faxton January 25, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Do you know why I pay a lower rate than others without insurance? Because insurance is a pre-payment into a huge pool each year. Most years (if not many for years in a row) I don't use anyting. My Dr checkups are free - sure, they are free. They cost $10k/yr. My hospitalization to fix my herniated back was a 'provider discount' of about 25% and I was responsible for 20% of the remainder. Insurance paid the rest... or did they? 5yrs @ 10k = 100k. My bill without discount was $9300 (discounted to $4500 and I had out of pocket of 900). I truly paid over time 100k and 900 for the fix.
Kathie January 25, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Sen. Kirk, praying for you and lifting you up to our Heavenly Father. Praying for a full recovery, I know first hand this is a hard process, but with determination and a good attitude you can overcome this road block. My oldest brother had the same situation 20 years ago and after leaving the hospital he went to RIC next door to Northwestern and did amazing. So I pray you will work hard and fight with all you have to get well soon. Praying for your family...


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