Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Sens. Kennedy and Byrd Fall Ill At Congressional Luncheon

January 20, 2009 04:28 PM
by Josh Katz
Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., have left the congressional luncheon for Obama’s inauguration because of medical issues.

Senators Taken From Luncheon

Both Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., were taken from the Obama congressional luncheon due to apparent medical reasons, The Washington Post reports. The senators were sitting at the same table, and Kennedy had his reputed seizure just before Byrd.

“Before being taken from the room, Kennedy had begun shaking and convulsing, according to a Senate staffer in the luncheon, and appeared to be having a seizure,” the Post writes.

Kennedy, who will turn 77 in February, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Byrd is 91 and has suffered medical problems in recent years.

Rev. Daniel Coughlin, who delivered the benediction at the lunch, said that Kennedy "responded well” to treatment, according to USA Today.

Obama was "I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now a part of me is with him,” Obama said in reference to Kennedy, according to the Associated Press. "And I think that's true for all of us. This is a joyous time. But it's also a sobering time. And my prayers are with him and his family and (Kennedy's wife) Vicki."

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia said, “There was a big crowd over there led by the president, who was there instantly. I don’t know what happened. … [Mr. Obama] knew something was happening, and he went over there immediately to be helpful,” The New York Times reports.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, indicated that Kennedy was conscious and smiled as the paramedics took him away.

Background: Kennedy has "successful" brain surgery

The doctors of Mass. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said that he would not suffer any "permanent neurological effects" following his brain surgery in June 2008.

Sen. Kennedy suffered a seizure a month earlier while at his family's compound in Hyannisport, Mass. Doctors concluded that the cause of the seizure was a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe.

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