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Indiana Governor Suffers Brain Damage

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  • David
    Indiana Governor Suffers Brain Damage The Associated Press September 9, 2003 CHICAGO (AP) -- Doctors saw some evidence of brain damage in Indiana Gov. Frank
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2003
      Indiana Governor Suffers Brain Damage

      The Associated Press
      September 9, 2003


      CHICAGO (AP) -- Doctors saw some evidence of brain damage in Indiana
      Gov. Frank O'Bannon, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday, a day
      after O'Bannon suffered a massive stroke.

      With the 73-year-old governor in a drug-induced coma and on a
      ventilator, doctors said Monday that the next day or two would be
      critical.

      Northwestern Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan said
      Tuesday that doctors saw reflex movement that indicates brain
      damage. ``It's too soon to tell exactly the extent of the damage,''
      she said.

      ``This is up to Mother Nature and his own ability to bounce back,
      his own brain's ability to recover,'' Dr. Hunt Batjer, chairman of
      neurological surgery at Northwestern, said earlier.

      Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan assumed O'Bannon's duties as acting governor.
      ``I would just ask all Hoosiers to join hands and say a prayer,'' he
      said.

      And Indiana's first lady thanked residents for their support.

      ``We have often said there is no limit to where we can go when we go
      together,'' Judy O'Bannon said in a statement. ``Words cannot
      describe the comfort we feel from the people of Indiana and beyond
      and we truly feel we are on this journey together.''

      O'Bannon, a Democrat in his second term, was found Monday morning on
      the floor of his Chicago hotel room in his pajamas. He was
      unconscious and near death when he was rushed to the hospital,
      doctors said. He remained in critical condition midmorning Tuesday.

      O'Bannon suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, a type of stroke caused by
      bleeding in the brain. Pressure on the brain is a major complication
      of such an injury and patients are often placed in drug-induced
      comas to help relieve the pressure and allow the brain to rest and
      heal.

      O'Bannon is expected to remain under the sedation for at least
      several days, Sullivan said.

      Dr. Wesley Yapor said surgeons removed blood from both sides of
      O'Bannon's brain during three hours of surgery Monday. Some of the
      bleeding probably came from an injury, suggesting that the governor
      fell after becoming ill, he said. Sullivan said the surgery was
      successful.

      Doctors said it was too early to predict the likelihood of O'Bannon
      fully recovering. The outcome depends on how much bleeding occurs,
      how much of the brain is affected, and how long the patient goes
      without treatment.

      Strokes are the nation's leading cause of disability in the United
      States and the No. 3 killer. Most are ischemic strokes, caused when
      arteries feeding the brain are blocked, but some are caused by
      bleeding in the brain. Survivors often suffer permanent disability
      including paralysis and loss of speech.

      O'Bannon was staying at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago to attend
      a conference of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.

      Kernan became acting governor under a provision in the state
      constitution that allows him to temporarily carry on business
      without a formal transfer of power.

      State officials said Tuesday they believe the formal transfer, which
      requires a petition from legislative leaders and state Supreme Court
      approval, would be needed if O'Bannon was never able to return to
      work.

      In his seven years as governor, O'Bannon, a moderate known for
      grandfatherly charm, has forged alliances to reform education and
      try to improve the state's economy.

      The governor coasted to re-election in 2000, but his popularity
      began to slide in his second term as the economy faltered. He is
      barred by term limits from running again next year.

      ``It will be a real shock if he doesn't recover,'' said Kim Self,
      sales manager at Magdalena's Restaurant & Gourmet Gift Shop in the
      southern town of Corydon, O'Bannon's home.

      The last time Indiana had an acting governor for any length of time
      was in 1924, when the incumbent, Gov. Warren McCray, was forced to
      resign after being convicted of mail fraud.
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