Thursday, January 18, 2007

Senator Tim Johnson Update

  • NPR Host Asks If Sen. Johnson's Family 'Has The Right' To Ruin Dem Majority

  • Posted by Tim Graham on December 18, 2006 - 13:29.
  • Monday's first hour of National Public Radio's Diane Rehm show out of Washington focused on the health and political ramifications of Sen. Tim Johnson's brain surgery. Guests were Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Early in the show (about 7 and a half minutes in), Rehm grew a little crass, asking if Sen. Johnson's family could ruin the slender majority the Democrats hold in the upper chamber. Consider this through the lens of the Terri Schiavo debate, and see the liberal flip-flop coming:
    • Rehm: "What if Johnson's family were to say "Tim Johnson can no longer serve"? Do they have the right to do that?"
    • Ornstein: "Uh, basically, no. I suppose you can imagine a set of circumstances under which he was in such awful condition, clearly deteriorating, moving towards death, where there might be a broader consensus in the Senate and in the society, but otherwise, no. It's within his control. And again, we've had examples in the past where family members wanted to cut those ties, end the kind of torture, in a way, they were going through, but do not have the legal authority to do so."
  • Can you imagine the spectacle if the Johnson family wanted a certain course of care for Senator Johnson, and the Michael Schiavo Democrats were saying no, the guardians have no say? Didn't they want the Washington politicians out of the debate?
"The two-week period is longer than I would be happy with," he said.
Dr. Siller shares my pessimestic view and director of the Comprehensive Stroke Care Center at NYU Medical Center and assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine.
With regard to my comments about Senator Pinkie(his nickname since childhood was "Pinky."[1] )Reid, I listened closely to his comments and they were at the very least misleading and at worst a lie(in political parlance disingenuous).
  • 'In the most detailed update yet on Johnson's condition, his doctor said a test Wednesday revealed no evidence the tangled arteries that triggered the senator's stroke remain. "This angiogram shows that there is no further surgery needed AT THIS TIME," Dr. Vivek Deshmukh said in a statement released by Johnson's office.
  • The doctor said Johnson no longer needs a ventilator full time. "His breathing has steadily improved and now he only requires ventilator assistance at night," said Deshmukh, the neurosurgeon treating the senator.
  • "His long-term prognosis is unclear". Deshmukh said his recovery is expected to take several months.
  • The senator "continues to be responsive to both his family and physicians — following commands, squeezing his wife's hand, and understanding speech," Deshmukh said.
  • The statement said his overall medical condition has improved steadily. "The next phase of his recovery is expected to take several months and focus upon rehabilitation and physical therapy," according to the statement.'

Yes I am a Conservative American but I have 21 years of experience with Brain Injury and what I am hearing does not sound good. He is on a ventilator at night and still in a Critical Care sitting or (ICU) 23 days after his surgery and that is not good. The Neurosurgeon indicated that the Angiogram indicates he does not need "Surgery AT THIS TIME". His doctor did not say he will not need surgery in the FUTURE!
"It probably is not over," Dr. William Bank(who treats AVMs and other neurovascular disorders at Washington Hospital Center) added. "For a complete removal of an AVM, you need to be doing your surgery under ideal circumstances," not when the defect is actively bleeding.
I have backed up my experiential and written opinions with documentation from medical literature, medical websites and lay websites. I'll close with the comment placed on my website from a reader:
Carmen writes on 1/5/2007 after reading my post regarding AVMs:
  • "My sister had a minor leak from an AVM and though she recovered, has short term memory problems and seizures. While I love her very much, she can no longer hold a job due to her memory issues/seizures. I would guess that Mr Johnson is not going to come out of this without some sort of brain dysfunction. He's been down way too long! God bless him and his family."
South Dakota have your Governor appoint a Democrat and that well be better than this situation. A Democrat who has the ability to think will be better for the country than one who has had brain damage to the extent of our Senator from South Dakota. I"m just a messenger with expertise in this area of Medicine. Of course my opinions must be tempered by the fact that I am not his Attending Physician but I do have the ability to make inferences based on what has been released to the press. The good Senator was recently moved from the ICU, on the ventilator part time and minimally responding to the family and Physicians more than 3 weeks out from the injury. That is not a good sign!
18-30% of people with an AVM bleed have a re-bleed within the first year, sorry if that offends you. Have your Republican governor, Mike Rounds, appoint a Democratic replacement as this will more likely be better than hanging on to Tim Johnson, sorry it that offends you. The GOP members of the Senate for the most part are kinda weak and did not conduct themselves in a robust manner while in the majority so a 50-50 split will not change much in my opinion, sorry if that offends you. I marvel at the robust strength of Schumer, Durbin, Reid, Kennedy, Boxer and Kohl when they were in the minority and fought hard for every inch and only wish the GOP Senators were fighters like them.
I could be wrong and I hope so but the "Preponderance of the Evidence" as floated by the Physicians and Media, my professional knowledge and experience cause me to believe that the prognosis for full recovery is poor. Additionally a medium level of proof or standard known as clear and convincing evidence is satisfied by what I have read about the Senator's progress to date. Sorry to apply these legal principles but I like them because they reflect and are based on simple tried and true common sense. The on Thune Watch readers are correct in noting I am not the Attending Physician. However, I have expertise about the pathophysiology of Brain Injury and rules of thumb apply whether you like them or not.
Again I like to say let the Governor of South Dakota put in an Independent or a Democrat but some one who is Neurologically capable of performing the job of "An American Senator" not a South Dakota Senator who happens to be a Democrat. Again, I wonder how many of these people who have questioned my opinions would hire a Lawyer to represent them in a suit if that person was in Senator Johnson's condition? Would these people let a family member be treated by a Surgeon who was in Senator's Condition? However the Senator gets appointed a two new Appropriations Subcommittees, the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. Johnson will continue to serve as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Subcommittee, the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. Last week, Johnson was named Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Writer Thu Jan 11, 5:15 PM ET
  • WASHINGTON - Sen. Tim Johnson (, , ) has been transferred out of intensive care and has said some words, his doctor said Thursday, nearly a month after the South Dakota Democrat suffered a brain hemorrhage.
  • "This is confirmed by the fact that he is following commands and has started to say words," Deshmukh said in a statement released by Johnson's office.
  • Johnson's doctors have said that when he arrived at the hospital, he was feeling weakness on his right side, and that condition will require physical therapy.
  • "It is clear that he understands that people are introducing themselves, he is looking at name badges to try and associate it with the person, he is saying words and responding to commands," she said. "It's clear the electricity is on and the system is humming."
  • "The fact that Tim is beginning to use words is remarkable as is his strength and determination," said his wife, Barb Johnson, in the statement. "He even maintains his sense of humor when I share e-mails about his grandsons' adventures."
    • Good for the Senator and his family as it sounds like he is out of the woods medically but I still do not think he should serve Americans after he has suffered a severe Neurologic Injury aka Brain Damage. In many states his Physician would be required to alert the Department of Motor Vehicles of a patient with a Brain Injury. However in this situation he is appointed to the Chairmanship of Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs. This is inappropriate folks but the Democrats want power so BAD it is okay? I wish Senator Johnson and his family God's speed! America still needs a capable and non-Brain Injured Senator to work our Capital for not only South Dakotans and all Americans as well....

      Dominus Vobiscum

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