Senator Kennedy Taken From Luncheon With President Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, ill with a brain
tumor, was hospitalized Tuesday but quickly reported feeling well
after suffering a seizure at a post-inauguration luncheon for
President Barack Obama.

"After testing, we believe the incident was brought on by
simple fatigue," Dr. Edward Aulisi, chairman of neurosurgery at
Washington Hospital Center said in a statement released by the
senator's office.

"He will remain ... overnight for observation, and will be
released in the morning."

The statement said the 76-year-old senator "is awake, talking
with family and friends, and feeling well."

The statement did not disclose the tests that were performed on
Kennedy, whose seizure was witnessed by several fellow senators
seated with him at lunch.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told reporters he and Kennedy's wife,
Vicki, grabbed the senator as he became ill.

Added Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., "It took a lot out of him.
Seizures are exhausting."

Even so, Dodd quoted Kennedy as saying, "I'll be OK, I'll see
you later" as he was put into an ambulance.

"The good news is he's gonna be fine," Dodd added.

Kennedy had appeared in good health and spirits a few hours
earlier when he stepped out of the Capitol and onto the
inauguration platform where Obama took the oath of office. His
endorsement of the former Illinois senator had come at a pivotal
point in the Democratic presidential race, and the older man
campaigned energetically for the younger one.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., told reporters that Obama noticed
when Kennedy became ill, and rushed over to his table.

"There was a call for silence throughout the room," he said.
"The president went over immediately. The lights went down, just
to reduce the heat, I think."

In his remarks, Obama said his prayers were with the stricken
senator, his family and wife.

"He was there when the Voting Rights Act passed, along with
John Lewis, who was a warrior for justice," the newly inaugurated
president said.

"And so I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now
a part of me is with him. And I think that's true for all of us,"
Obama said.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 91, also left the luncheon early, but his
office and others said his health was not the reason.

Byrd "is currently in his own office ... and is doing fine,
though he remains very concerned about his close friend, Ted
Kennedy," said Mark Ferrell, a spokesman for the West Virginia
Democrat.

Kennedy was diagnosed last May with a particularly aggressive
type of brain tumor, called a malignant glioma, after suffering a
seizure at his Massachusetts home. He had what his doctor described
as successful surgery to remove as much as possible of the tumor in
his left parietal lobe. Kennedy then underwent radiation and
chemotherapy, necessary because doctors know that even if they
remove all of the visible tumor, stray cells almost certainly
remain.

One doctor not connected with the senator's care said it's not
unusual for patients recovering from brain tumors to suffer
seizures.

If so, "it does not necessarily mean the tumor's growing
back," said Dr. Matthew Ewend, neurosurgery chief at the
University of North Carolina, noting that Kennedy already would
have been receiving MRI scans of his brain every few months to
check for that possibility.

Patients recovering from a brain tumor almost always are
prescribed anti-seizure drugs, and something as common as a change
in schedule could cause a dip in blood levels of that medication
and produce a seizure, he said. Fatigue could also cause illness.
---
Associated Press writers Donna Cassata, Andrew Miga, Lolita C.
Baldor and Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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