Illinois Senator Mark Kirk Suffers Stroke

Mark Kirk, who was just elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving for a decade in the House of Representatives, is recovering in a Chicago hospital after suffering a stroke over the weekend:

CHICAGO (AP) — Sen. Mark Kirk has undergone surgery to relieve swelling from a stroke that affected his left arm and leg and face, but surgeons said Monday he appears to recognize those around him and is responding to commands.

The Illinois Republican is in intensive care at Northwestern Regional Medical Center, and it’s unclear how long his recovery could take or whether his full movement would be restored, doctors said.

“We are very hopeful that when we get through all the recovery, all those functions will be intact,” said Dr. Richard Fessler, the neurosurgeon who performed the surgery. “This morning, he is doing quite well. I am very happy with his current status.”

Kirk, 52, checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital over the weekend before being transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where tests showed he had suffered a stroke.

Kirk’s office said he had a tear in the carotid artery on the right side of his neck. Carotid arteries carry blood to the brain; carotid tears are a common cause of strokes, which can involve blood clots traveling to the brain and causing bleeding there.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said he was shocked to learn of Kirk’s stroke because kirk appeared to be a picture of health.

“I want him to get well and come back to Washington as soon as possible,” Durbin said Monday.

Sen. Joe Manchin, with whom Kirk planned to sit during Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, issued a statement calling Kirk a “dear friend and truly a great American.”

It was more than 5 years ago that South Dakota Democratic Senator Tim Johnson suffered a stroke himself. He managed to recover well enough to return to the Senate just over a year later, and run for re-election in 2008, when he was overwhelmingly re-elected. Hopefully, Kirk will recover soon himself and be back to work in due time.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.