When McConnell froze in front of cameras, a Capitol Hill physician finds no indication of seizure disease or stroke
The Capitol's attending physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, has issued a new statement, dispelling any indications of a seizure disorder, stroke, or movement disorder, such as Parkinson's disease, in Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. This comes in the wake of two recent health incidents that occurred while he was in front of TV cameras.
McConnell's office released this letter on Tuesday, following his second incident of freezing on camera in just a couple of months, leading to concerns about his ability to continue his leadership role within the Senate GOP Conference. After his most recent episode in Covington, Kentucky, McConnell underwent evaluation by four neurologists.
According to Dr. Monahan's Tuesday letter, which considered input from McConnell's neurologists, extensive evaluations were conducted, including brain MRI imaging and a test measuring electrical activity in the brain. The letter definitively stated, "There is no evidence that you have a seizure disorder or that you experienced a stroke, TIA, or movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease."
During an appearance on "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta pointed out that an EEG study offers a snapshot in time and may not necessarily capture a seizure event. He noted that while the tests McConnell underwent were thorough, they can't definitively rule out a seizure, but they provide valuable insights into his condition.
McConnell briefly acknowledged his recent freezing episode, emphasizing that his August had been a productive month. Senate GOP leadership members downplayed concerns about his health after their weekly meeting on Tuesday.
McConnell is scheduled to address his health during a closed-door conference meeting with Republican senators on Wednesday, as revealed by Texas Sen. John Cornyn. Cornyn emphasized the importance of transparency in addressing concerns.
When asked about his support for McConnell continuing as leader in the next Congress, Senate GOP Whip John Thune expressed his support, though it remains unclear why McConnell experienced these freezing episodes.
Previously, McConnell's office attributed these incidents to "lightheadedness," and Dr. Monahan mentioned that such symptoms are not uncommon in individuals recovering from concussions. McConnell had suffered a concussion and broken ribs earlier in the year after a fall in Washington, which forced him to take a six-week absence from the Senate.
This situation arises as the Senate resumes its session after a five-week recess, and GOP senators face questions regarding McConnell's ability to lead the party, considering his 16-year tenure, the longest in Senate history. While some senators, like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, express confidence in McConnell's capability, others, like Rand Paul and Tommy Tuberville, have raised concerns about his health and the need for a more comprehensive explanation.