Friday, January 12, 2007

Senator Tim Johnson Update

This is excellent news:

WSJ: Sen. Johnson Begins to Say Words

Sen. Tim Johnson has been transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation unit for “aggressive” therapy, and has started to say words, according to a statement released by his office.

“Yesterday, Senator Johnson underwent an MRI which showed that his speech centers were spared of injury. This is confirmed by the fact that he is following commands and has started to say words,” said Vivek Deshmukh, the neurosurgeon treating the senator. Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, was hospitalized in December after a brain hemorrhage.

It is common, the statement said, for there to be a delay in speech while a person heals from bleeding in the brain. Johnson is currently being weaned off his tracheotomy tube. “The fact that Tim is beginning to use words is remarkable as is his strength and determination,” said Johnson’s wife, Barb. “He even maintains his sense of humor when I share emails about his grandsons’ adventures.” –Sarah Lueck

Update: The senator has responded correctly when asked his name, though there is not much sound coming out of his mouth because of the tracheotomy tube, his spokeswoman, Julianne Fisher, told the AP. “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.'’

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