"Good Shot" at Mental Recovery
1:35 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Senator Kirk in Hospital After Stroke

US Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) has  suffered a stroke and remains sedated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

His neurosurgeon believes the 52-year old senator has a very  good shot at making a full mental recovery.

Northwestern  neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Fessler said Kirk suffered a  "dry stroke,"  in which sections of the right side of his brain were  deprived  of blood.

“Fortunately the stroke was not on the left side of his brain, in which case it would effect his ability to speak, understand, and think,” Fessler said.  “So we're very hopeful that when we get through all of his recovery, all of those functions will be intact and that he should be able to do very well.”

He added that recovery will take weeks or months.

Fessler said Kirk's prospects for a full mental recovery are very  good,  but it might be "very difficult" for him to regain use of his left arm.

Doctors  performed surgery on Kirk Sunday night after he was "becoming  less  responsive." They removed a 4 inch by 8 inch section of his skull in  order to relieve swelling.

Fessler said the senator originally checked in to Lake Forest  Hospital  on Saturday, complaining of dizziness and perhaps a headache.

He  was transferred to Northwestern on Sunday.

A  statement from Kirk's family said: “Mark has always shown great courage and resilience, and we are confident that the fighter in him will prevail.”

Governor Pat Quinn said: “We  can all take comfort knowing that as a Navy commander, Sen. Kirk  knows how to fight and he will fight through this to return to  his work on behalf of the people of Illinois as quickly as possible.”

Illinois  Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said: “Mark has always been  a tireless fighter in our  military and in Congress, and I know  that continues today with his  recovery.”

Thanks in part to Illinois Public Radio