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.”

Richard Schulte January 23, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Senator Kirk, you will be in my prayers. Get well soon.
Christy Piszkiewicz January 23, 2012 at 06:01 PM
What ever your politica you have to admire this guy!! He really trys to hear and do what the people want. Hope his recovery is swift and complete;we need people like him in Ill
Sylvia Lima January 23, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Lifting Senator Kirk and his family in prayer.
Jan Leasure January 23, 2012 at 07:16 PM
This news is received most sadly. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.
Robert January 23, 2012 at 08:07 PM
That is too bad. I really like him as senator. I wish him on a speedy recovery.
Nightcrawler January 23, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Amen to that.
Robert Boggs January 23, 2012 at 09:57 PM
At least Kirk has health insurance while voting against health care, excuse me, Obamacare. He should be thankful. People without insurance with strokes don't get admitted to Northwestern Memorial for treatment.
Stan Maxwell January 24, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Hey Robert, perhaps you should learn the existing law that says it is illegal for ANY hospital to refuse treatment to someone even if they cannot pay.
Karen Flicher January 24, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I agree Robert..I wish for him a full recovery but he was never on the side of middle class constituents
Sidney Mathias January 24, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kirk and his family. I was shocked and saddened by the news about his stroke this morning, but knowing Mark; his strength and courage with help him get well fast. My wife Rita and I join together with the residents of the 53rd district in wishing the Senator a speedy recovery.
Sully January 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM
William, although my comment must have been politically incorrect since it was deleted, i was referring to those who need an emergency procedure to protect the life of the mother.
LMJ January 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I know he holds a political office, but let's come together for the man, politics aside, and pray for Senator Kirk for a quick recovery. We pray all the best for you, Mark.
Brad Faxton January 24, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Exactly. A human is a human. Show some compassion when it comes to the human life. Get better fast Mark.
Katie January 24, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Without insurance, one could receive emergency treatment but would pay out of pocket at much higher rates than those negotiated by the insurance companies. So, no. Senator Kirks's constituents would not have the same access to medical care that he does. I wish him well, but he voted against healthcare for al of us.
Nightcrawler January 24, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Totally with you both. Keep politics out of it.
Gary January 24, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I'm not sure what Senator Kirk's illness has to do with his voting record, but since you've brought it up. You're saying that Senator Kirk should vote for a bill that would give everyone in the country the same access to the level of health care that he enjoys as a US Senator. Fine. I'll go down that Utopian path with you, but we have one bit of house keeping to take care of before I put on my walking shoes. Who pays for it?
Gary January 24, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Karen, As far as I can tell, voting against ObamaCare was a vote for the middle class. ObamaCare is making it financially unwise for companies to continue offering health care as a benefit... a benefit most middle class people enjoy. When those companies drop health care, then the middle class will have to pay for it on their own, or go through a government run exchange. They will not be able to keep the plan they had, as was promised by President Obama. ObamaCare is a direct assault on the middle class standard of living in an attempt to buy the votes of the 15% without health insurance. I think Kirk represented his constituency well with that vote.
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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