Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts Suffers Seizure

Chief Justice John Roberts, pictured 16 July 2007, was out of danger and unharmed after a fall Monday near his vacation home in the US state of Maine, the Supreme Court said in a statement.(AFP/File/Stephane De Sakutin)

Yesterday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had a seizure while vacationing in Maine. He is only 52 years old. Roberts suffered a previous seizure in 1993 at age 38. There was no public testimony about his seizure during his confirmation hearings, although Senator Spector said yesterday that senators were informed about it.

What does this mean for the future of the court? Probably nothing. His doctors will probably place him on anti-seizure medication. The HuffPo outlines the medical situation thusly:

Medical opinions differed on just what Roberts' seizures mean.

Someone who has had more than one seizure without any other cause is determined to have epilepsy, said Dr. Marc Schlosberg, a neurologist at Washington Hospital Center, who is not involved in the Roberts' case.

Whether Roberts will need anti-seizure medications to prevent another is something he and his doctor will have to decide. But after two seizures, the likelihood of another at some point is greater than 60 percent. "When it's going to occur, obviously nobody knows," Schlosberg said.

The National Institutes of Health's Web site says that "only when a person has had two or more seizures is a person considered to have epilepsy."

Epilepsy is merely a term for a seizure disorder, but it is a loaded term because it makes people think of lots of seizures, cautioned Dr. Edward Mkrdichian, a neurosurgeon at the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch.

Still, Mkrdichian said anyone who has had two otherwise unexplained seizures is at high risk for a third, and that he puts such patients on anti-seizure medications.

"Having two seizures so many years apart without any known culprit is going to be very difficult to figure out," agreed Dr. Max Lee of the Milwaukee Neurological Institute.

I think the guy is a disaster for the Court, but I want him to go out old and bitter, outflanked by all the Democratic appointees to the Court, not to some medical condition.

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