Tim Johnson Expected to Miss Start of Congress

Tim Johnson remains in intensive care but his condition is improving. He will, however, miss the start of the new Congressional session and his doctors offer no prognosis for when he might return.

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) turned 60 yesterday, two weeks after emergency surgery to repair a brain hemorrhage that has left him in critical condition.

Julianne Fisher, a spokeswoman for the senator, said Johnson will not be present in the first days of the new Congress next week but is continuing to improve. She said he is responsive to directions from his wife but has not yet spoken. It is too soon to tell how long recovery will take, Fisher said.

In a statement yesterday, Johnson’s doctors said he remains in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital. They have released few new details about Johnson’s condition and prognosis since the days after the Dec. 13 surgery to stop bleeding in his brain. Vivek Deshmukh, head of Johnson’s surgical team, said in a statement that the senator’s overall condition has improved and that he is gradually being weaned off sedation to help his brain heal.

Johnson’s wife, Barbara, said that her husband “continues to give us great hope” and that two of the couple’s three grown children were at the hospital on his birthday.

Johnson was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation, a condition that causes arteries and veins to grow abnormally large, become tangled and sometimes burst. He was rushed to the hospital after becoming disoriented during a call with reporters.

My continued wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

For background on Johnson’s condition, see the Arteriovenous Malformations and Other Vascular Lesions of the Central Nervous System Fact Sheet from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. This raises an interesting bargaining position for Lieberman. He doesn’t have to organize with the republicans, just not organize with the democrats. The result would be a 49 to 49 deadlock with the tie breaker going to a man who has shown he has the capability to shoot a friend in the face with a shotgun.

    Fortunately for the democrats, Lieberman campaigned on a promise to organize with the democrats and I doubt he will break that promise.