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UPDATE, JAN. 24, 2012 - We are happy to report that Mark Kirk is recovering quickly from the stroke he suffered last weekend. He is breathing on his own after undergoing three hours of surgery - and he's already asking for his Blackberry phone.
January 23, 2012 - Chicago - U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois was hospitalized over this past weekend after he suffered a stroke. Doctors performed surgery on the senator today to remove a four-inch-by-eight-inch portion of his skull to relieve pressure on the brain.
Sen. Kirk's said that he checked himself into Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, where doctors discovered a "carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck." He was then moved to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Kirk, 52, "is expected to recover cognitive functions but could have some physical impairment," reports the Chicago Tribune today, "following a weekend stroke, the neurosurgeon who operated on the senator said today following three-hour surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital."
The Tribune quotes Dr. Richard Fessler as saying that the stroke may leave Sen. Kirk with limited movement of his left arm and/or leg, and could cause some facial paralysis.
"Fortunately," said Dr. Fessler, "the stroke was not on the left side of his brain, in which case it would affect his ability to speak, understand and think."
Sen. Kirk, a Republican, is the junior Senator from Illinois and a former member of the House of Representatives. He currently holds the U.S. Senate seat in Chicago that was once held by Barack Obama. He beat Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in 2010. Giannoulias is a former Illinois State Treasurer.
Chicago News Bench has been harshly critical of Mark Kirk's politics in the past, but we wish him a full and speedy. We also wish courage and strength for his family.