McConnell’s freeze-ups not stroke or seizure disorder -doctor By Reuters


© Reuters. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) enters his U.S. Capitol Police SUV as he leaves his Washington house to return to work at the U.S. Senate, less than a week after he froze for more than 30 seconds while speaking to reporters at an event

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s two episodes of freezing up while speaking in public appear not to be the result of a stroke or seizure disorder, Congress’s doctor said in a statement on Tuesday that did not explain what caused the incidents.

In a one-paragraph letter to the 81-year-old lawmaker, Dr. Brian Monahan said he reached his conclusion after a comprehensive neurological assessment including several medical evaluations that included brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists.

“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,” Monahan wrote. “There are no changes recommended in treatment protocols as you continue recovery from your March 2023 fall.”

McConnell’s office declined to answer a request for further detail on what doctors believe caused the incidents.

Twice in the last six weeks, the Kentucky Republican froze up during public appearances.

The latest incident occurred last Wednesday during a press conference in Kentucky, where he froze for more than 30 seconds and stared into space before being escorted away. A similar incident occurred in the U.S. Capitol on July 26 as McConnell spoke to reporters.

The two incidents have raised fresh questions among Republican and Democratic members of Congress about McConnell and other aging lawmakers.

McConnell had been sidelined from the Senate after he tripped at a Washington dinner on March 8 and was admitted to a hospital for treatment of a concussion. He also suffered a minor rib fracture and was later moved to a rehabilitation facility. He returned to the Senate in April.

The Senate returns to Washington from summer recess on Tuesday and will have urgent work ahead, including passing legislation to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, when the current fiscal year ends.

McConnell in the past has typically played an important role in negotiating and passing spending bills; without congressional action, the federal government would begin to partially shut down in October.

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