U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, 49, suffered a stroke on Thursday, January 27, underwent brain surgery and is expected to fully recover. According to a statement issued by his office, Luján experienced dizziness and fatigue early Thursday morning and checked himself in to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe. He then was later transferred to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.
The link to the full statement is here:
Lujan was diagnosed with a stroke in the cerebellum which is located in the back of the brain affecting his balance. “Decompressive” surgery was performed to relieve pressure on the brain. Very little more was given by UNM Hospital because of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) rules governing privacy rights of patients.
THE DOCTORS GIVE THEIR TAKE
KOAT 7 health expert Dr. Barry Ramo had this to say:
“In the spectrum of strokes, this is an unusual type of stroke. The cerebellum is a fundamental structure in the brain. It has to do with coordination has to do with vision, has to do with speech has to do with movement. … The recovery time depends on how much damage has occurred as a consequence of the stroke. … There are many things in Senator Luján’s favor. One is his youth, and he’s otherwise been healthy. The fact that they did the surgery, and the surgeon feels that he’s going to have full recovery is excellent news.”
Dr. Pierre Fayad , the chief of the vascular neurology and stroke program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said patients generally recover well from strokes in the cerebellum. Fayad had this to say:
“Barring complications such as infection or bleeding … recovery can take from a few weeks to a couple of months. There may be a need for acute rehabilitation to restore balance and brain functions. … Hospitalization may last a week to 10 days, but … every case is different. … [A patient recovering] could have some balance issues, but overall, damage to the cerebellum can be quite forgiving. … The severity of the damage is affected by the size of the injury, the location, the kind of stroke and other factors. … There can also be swallowing and vision problems and weakness in facial movement.”
According to Dr. Fayad, the surgery is performed on the back of the head to relieve potential pressure on the brain. Typically, a piece of the skull is removed and damaged brain area will also be taken out if necessary. The surgery reduces swelling to prevent the impact of compression on the brain. Dr. Fayad said barring complications such as infection or bleeding, recovery can take from a few weeks to a couple of months depending on the need for rehabilitation to restore balance and brain functions.
Adán Serna, a spokesman for Senator Luján said he has been able to talk with staff and he hasn’t suffered any paralysis or loss of speech.
Links to other quoted news source material are here:
IMPACT ON PRESIDENT BIDEN’S NATIONAL AGENDA
National news outlets were quick to report Senator Lujan’s hospitalization mainly because it could have a major impact on President Joe Biden’s national agenda. Proxy voting is not allowed in the United Sates Senate, which is evenly split, with 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats who are joined in caucus by two independents and with Vice President Kamala Harris who would vote in case of any tie. Luján’s absence will have an immediate impact if he’s not able to return in time for any votes.
The most immediate impact of Lujan’s absence from the Senate is Biden’s appointment for the replacement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer who has announced his retirement. Biden has already begun the vetting process to find a nominee and has said he will nominate the very first black woman to the United States Supreme Court. At least 12 woman are under consideration. Biden has said he will announce his nomination by the end of February. An extensive illness and recovery time could hinder Luján’s role in the appointment of a new justice.
On January 26, Luján release a statement on the retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Luján encouraged the U.S. Senate “to move swiftly in confirming a new Supreme Court justice that reflects the full diversity of our nation, and I look forward to working with President Biden to do so.”
Get well soon Senator Ben Ray Luján Jr, and best wishes.
It is being reported that Senator Ben Ray Luján will not be back to work in Washington for at least 4 weeks, throwing President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court pick and lagging legislative agenda in doubt. Routine Senate business is already being rearranged as the Senate Commerce Committee announced it would be postponing consideration of some of Biden’s executive branch nominees because the panel, on which Luján is a member, needs all Democrats for the votes.