Ted Kennedy Falls Ill at His Home; Is Flown to Mass. General Hospital

Sen. Edward Kennedy was rushed to the hospital this morning after falling ill at his home in Hyannisport:

U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy was rushed by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital this morning after falling ill at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport.

Hyannis fire responded to the compound after a call was made around 8:30 a.m. It’s unclear what Kennedy’s medical condition is, but after he spent almost two hours in the emergency room a decision was made to transfer him to Mass General Hospital in Boston.

Kennedy, 76, was placed on a stretcher and wheeled out to the MedFlight helicopter around 10:15 a.m. where it took off from Barnstable Municipal Airport.

Later reports indicate that he was brought to Cape Cod Hospital after he had a seizure at home. He then had a second seizure on the helicopter that transported him to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Sen. Kennedy was initially thought to have suffered a stroke, but that now appears not to be the case.

Kennedy is 76 years old. He had stroke-prevention surgery on the carotid artery in his neck in October 2007:

In October, Kennedy had surgery to repair a nearly complete blockage in a major neck artery. The discovery was made during a routine examination of a decades-old back injury.

The hour-long procedure on his left carotid artery — a main supplier of blood to the face and brain — was performed at Massachusetts General. This type of operation is performed on more than 180,000 people a year to prevent a stroke.

The doctor who operated on Kennedy said at the time that surgery is reserved for those with more than 70 percent blockage, and Kennedy had “a very high-grade blockage.”

Sen. Kennedy has served in the Senate for over 45 years, having taken over his brother John’s Senate seat when he ran for president. He was elected in his own right in 1962, and has been reelected seven times since then.

Sen. Obama said Kennedy was “one of my favorite people,” and said he would call Kennedy’s wife, Vicky. Another article reports Obama’s praise for Kennedy’s work on health care:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, beginning a tour of hospitals in Eugene, Ore., told reporters that he had been in touch with the senator’s family. “Ted Kennedy is a giant in American political history. He’s done more for health care than just about anybody in history. We are going to be routing [sic] for him. I insist on being optimistic about how it’s going to turn out.”

The latest reports say Sen. Kennedy is “resting comfortably,” and that it will probably be at least 48 hours before there is any substantive news.

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