Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk suffers stroke

posted at 3:50 pm on January 23, 2012 by Tina Korbe

The Republican senator elected in 2010 to fill the seat once occupied by Barack Obama suffered a stroke Saturday and underwent surgery today to repair related damage, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Mr. [Mark] Kirk, 51 years old and a freshman Republican, checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital on Saturday, and doctors found damage to his carotid artery on the right side of his neck. He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where tests revealed he had suffered a stroke. His office said the surgery was successful.

“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,” his office said in a statement.

That “confidence” in the senator’s recovery, however, pertains primarily to his mental capacities; he’s unlikely to fully recover physically, doctors say.

Neurosurgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago said parts of Kirk’s brain are permanently damaged.

“The prospects for his full physical recovery, particularly on the left side of his body, are not great,” said Dr. Richard Fessler, a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial.

The stroke may also result in “some facial paralysis,” Fessler added, with Kirk maybe recovering use of his left leg, but “the use of his left arm is going to be very difficult.”

Fessler said that Kirk’s “prospects for a full mental recovery are pretty good.”

“Senator Kirk’s job is cerebral, and I believe the functions required to do his job are going to be fine,” he added.

Kirk’s battle for Obama’s former seat was a close-watched election in 2010, as it pitted Kirk against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer and a personal friend of Obama, who campaigned twice on Giannoulias’ behalf.

This election cycle, the freshman senator — secure in his own seat — has endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

“I am extremely distressed by the news that my friend Mark Kirk is hospitalized for emergency medical treatment,” Romney said in a statement. “I wish him a speedy recovery and a swift return to the U.S. Senate chamber, so he can continue his important work for the people of Illinois and all the people of the United States.”

Mr. Kirk and his family, friends and staff have my thoughts, prayers and best wishes, as well.


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God bless.

I recall Senator Johnson had a stroke a few years back, too. I hope he’s recovered well.

amerpundit on January 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Hope he gets better!
Stress from what JugEars left behind?

KOOLAID2 on January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Gabby Giffords husband to be at FLOTUS side tomorrow night during SOTU.

Will Obama acknowledge Kirk illness?

PappyD61 on January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Best wishes to him. My mom suffered from several strokes, and she was never able to physically recover before passing away last year.

changer1701 on January 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Well, it’s Chicago. Win against the Machine and you have a choice, either stroke or lead poisoning.

If God exists, may He bless Sen. Kirk on his way to recovery.

Archivarix on January 23, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Godspeed Senator!

rjoco1 on January 23, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Gabby Giffords husband to be at FLOTUS side tomorrow night during SOTU.

Disgusting exploitation of illness, same as it were with death in politics.

Her husband s/b more decent.

May she and Sen. Kirk recover.

How many lefties are here wishing his family well?

Schadenfreude on January 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Best wishes to Sen. Kirk on a strong recovery.

Gabby Giffords husband to be at FLOTUS side tomorrow night during SOTU

With a lecture on civil discourse, DWS nodding her head, oblivious as to the irony…… Of course.

ThePrez on January 23, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Prayers going up for Senator Kirk. Godspeed, Senator.

pugwriter on January 23, 2012 at 4:11 PM

I hope he maintains a quality of life worth living, from his perspective.

Random on January 23, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Will Obama acknowledge Kirk illness?

PappyD61 on January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I bet he does. Anyone want to give me odds?

Abby Adams on January 23, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Gabby Giffords husband to be at FLOTUS side tomorrow night during SOTU.

Will Obama acknowledge Kirk illness?

PappyD61 on January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Bush acknowledged SD Democrat Tim Johnson’s stroke in 07 during his SOTU, so if Obama has any class, he’s wish Kirk his best. Of course, Obama probably isn’t too fond of the Republican who took his Senate Seat.

vegconservative on January 23, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Wow, the Senate is in peril.

Schadenfreude on January 23, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Ugh. That’s a terrible thing for anyone to go through, especially for a middle aged person like Kirk. Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery, and the doctors will be wrong about the physical damage.

Doomberg on January 23, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Will Obama acknowledge Kirk illness?

PappyD61 on January 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM

He will because Kirk holds Obama’s seat…

Fallon on January 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM

OK, I don’t understand this. According to what I read, Senator Kirk’s blood vessel was blocked 100% (not sure which one). Our congress peeps have the BEST health care money can buy and have access to the BEST health care facilities in the country. How in the world did this guy not do any screening tests to detect this stuff prior to having a stroke?

He has an 8 inch by 4 inch piece of his skull cut out to allow his brain to swell as he recovers. He many not gain full use of the left side of his body. He is only 52 years old.

However, if he was a regular citizen under Obama Care, I wonder if the death panels would determine that his treatment was too expensive for someone his age and would be sent home with an aspirin?

You have to wonder.

karenhasfreedom on January 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Well, crap happens! I was just 23 years old, I had my stroke (30 years old). I was in grad school in Cambridge, MA. I was a libertarian then, and I’m a libertarian, now. So, for Senator Kirk, fight, fight, fight. You will have some lows (lots) and some highs (not a lot, but push the envelope).

peseissler on January 23, 2012 at 4:50 PM

I have a special place in my heart for Senator Kirk. He introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2011 which would ban the transport of horses in double-decker trucks – a very dangerous practice.

Hopefully he’ll recover fully, but at least he remains mentally sharp.

NbyNW on January 23, 2012 at 4:51 PM

OK, I don’t understand this. According to what I read, Senator Kirk’s blood vessel was blocked 100% (not sure which one). Our congress peeps have the BEST health care money can buy and have access to the BEST health care facilities in the country. How in the world did this guy not do any screening tests to detect this stuff prior to having a stroke?

He has an 8 inch by 4 inch piece of his skull cut out to allow his brain to swell as he recovers. He many not gain full use of the left side of his body. He is only 52 years old.

However, if he was a regular citizen under Obama Care, I wonder if the death panels would determine that his treatment was too expensive for someone his age and would be sent home with an aspirin?

You have to wonder.

karenhasfreedom on January 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM

He didn’t have what you think of commonly as a “stroke” i.e. a blockage in the artery from atherosclerosis

He had a carotid dissection– these are fairly rare and flukey tears in the main artery in your neck that feeds the brain

They usually do affect younger, healthy folks and happen out of the blue.

No way to detect them early until they happen

In fact, they usually present late like this because they occur in patients who tend not to suspect they’re actually have a stroke

There’s a lot of really crappy inaccurate medical reporting with Sen Kirk’s reports today– it’s pathetic how “journalists” are incorrectly cutting and pasting wiki info about your garden variety strokes when this is a completely different issue

This sounds actually very worrisome from the little I’m hearing– I think he’s going to be fairly debilitated for a long time

My prayers to Sen Kirk and his family

thurman on January 23, 2012 at 4:51 PM

My mother was found to have 100%blockagea on one Side and 50% the other, this was at 71 yrs old. They can do nothing for the closed artery, she gets tested every 6 months to see if there’s anymore blockage.

angrymike on January 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

prayers to Sen Kirk…….


with that said,,,,, I WISH THE HEADLINE WAS “PRINCESS NANCY BOTOX” HAD STROKED OUT AND DIDN’T MAKE IT!! we can hope can’t we!!

ARIZONAVETERAN on January 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Strokes are an odd thing. No doctor really knows the full extent of the damage or the patients ability to recover. I pray that he surprises us all with a great recovery.

SC.Charlie on January 23, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Prayers for him and his family

jazzuscounty on January 23, 2012 at 5:28 PM

My mother was found to have 100%blockagea on one Side and 50% the other, this was at 71 yrs old. They can do nothing for the closed artery, she gets tested every 6 months to see if there’s anymore blockage.

angrymike on January 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Again, that’s a totally unrelated condition

Sen Kirk probably had ZERO blockage in each carotid artery weeks ago

There is a tear in the elastic wall of one artery, it fills with blood and swells shut over minutes, then half the brain loses its blood flow

It’s a very unique, and thankfully rare, event called a carotid dissection, not like the usual strokes that thousands get each year

thurman on January 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

I’ll bet the dino media demands Kirk retire, whereas they never did the same w/Giffords.

Labamigo on January 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Prayers for his full recovery. The Chicago Tribune and other MSM reports were very downbeat on his recovery.

One wonders how long it will be before cries for Sen. Kirk to resign, so that Gov. Quinn (D – Chicago) will announce a replacement from Da Machine?

CiLH1 on January 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Know who this helps? JJJ or Roland Burris. Media to begin death watch in 5.4.3…. They’re just salivating at the thot of Guv Quinn appointing a Chicago pol ASAP.

AH_C on January 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Prayers ascending…

OmahaConservative on January 23, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Prayers and strength. He and his family will need both…

Snorkdoodle Whizbang on January 23, 2012 at 6:46 PM

I’ve become so cynical, that they will probably run Valerie Jarrett as a replacement.
She’ll ( hopefully ) be looking for work soon.

amadan on January 23, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Best wishes to him. My mom suffered from several strokes, and she was never able to physically recover before passing away last year.

changer1701 on January 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Ditto.
My 68 year old mother has had FOUR strokes. She’s still able to live on her own but they’ve done some damage.
Sen. Kirk is young. Prayers to him and his family…from a former Chicago girl.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 23, 2012 at 7:49 PM

He’ll be fine. His “seperate but equal” healthcare will ensure he has the best medicine in the world.

However, if he had obamacare he’d probably be ruled expendable since he’s old, white and belongs to the wrong party. He’d have surgery scheduled sometime in the next 6 months.

acyl72 on January 24, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Leftist “well-wishing” in 5… 4… 3…

ZK on January 24, 2012 at 10:03 AM