Something happened at Senator Robert Byrd’s home this morning prompting the dispatch of a large fleet of emergency vehicles. Manu Raju reports and speculates for Politico:
Ambulances and fire trucks were dispatched to the Northern Virginia home of Sen. Robert Byrd Tuesday morning. A neighbor of the 91-year-old West Virginia Democrat said several ambulances were outside his residence in McLean, Va., and a Byrd spokesman said the senator suffered a fall in his home. An officer at the McLean Fire Department said that a unit was dispatched at 9:10 to the address where Byrd lives, but he declined to comment on the substance of the response.
Byrd — the longest-serving senator in the nation’s history — has been absent from the Senate for much of the
year and has been in and out of the hospital battling various ailments.
“Byrd apparently stood up too fast this morning in his home and fell down,” said Jesse Jacobs, a spokesman for the senator. “To err on the side of caution his caregiver called an ambulance. He was taken to the hospital where he is currently being checked out. At this point in time there is no indication that he will be admitted.”
Victoria Hays, who lives in Byrd’s neighborhood, said she saw three fire trucks, two ambulances, a uniformed police officer and security personnel on the driveway of the senator’s house Tuesday morning. Byrd, who serves as president pro tempore of the Senate, which is third in the line of presidential succession, travels full time with security personnel. “We’ve all kind of noticed there have been a lot more nurses” in recent days at Byrd’s house, she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this around his house before. We’re hoping for the best.”
It’s customary in this area for ambulances and fire trucks to be dispatched together. If one calls an ambulance, a fire truck will also show up. More than one of each is incredibly unusual, however, absent both a fire and reason to suspect multiple injuries. If the neighbor’s report is true, I suspect it was overzealousness caused by Byrd’s status.
I hope Byrd is indeed fine and that the ambulance was merely a prudent precaution for a 91-year-old in poor health.
But isn’t it well past time for him to resign his seat? If one can’t actually show up any more to do the job, one isn’t actually serving, longest or otherwise.