OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein was rushed to the hospital in San Francisco after suffering a major fall on Monday, reports said.
Feinstein, 90, apparently tripped in her home and was injured, but she has since been released after being treated and after some tests were completed, the Daily Mail reported.
“Senator Feinstein briefly went to the hospital yesterday afternoon as a precaution after a minor fall in her home. All of her scans were clear, and she returned home,” said a spokesperson for the aged Democratic senator.
Feinstein’s deteriorating health has been an increasingly serious concern for members of her party, some of whom have called on her to retire.
In the spring, as she remained out of the Senate for a prolonged period of time dealing with an illness, California Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and spoke with host Shannon Bream about having her retire so that California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom can appoint a replacement.
But Bream asked him if he had the same concerns about Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. John Fetterman, who has spent more time in the hospital than he has in the Senate since he was elected.
“It’s one thing to take medical leave and come back. It’s another thing where you’re just not doing the job,” he said. “The reality here is the sense that you need to have a deference to these senators who served so long. How about a deference to the American people? How about an expectation that if you sign up to do one of these jobs, you show up?”
“This has to do with someone who is just not showing up, and I said out loud what people have been saying in private, and this is how the Beltway works. They don’t like it when you call out someone who’s in power, and that’s why people are unlikely to do it. But we’ve had so many calls from the American people, and they say, ‘Yeah, that’s right. If you’re gonna sign up to do these jobs, show up!'” he said.
Feinstein returned to the Senate in May, but when she did, photos taken of her as she was wheeled into the chamber immediately went viral.
After a months-long absence, reportedly due to a serious case of shingles, Feinstein looked frail, gaunt, and feeble as she weakly acknowledged her well-wishers and her surroundings.
But, as bad as Feinstein looked upon her return — the left side of her face appearing frozen with one eye almost shut — the truth is she was worse off than previously disclosed.
The New York Times reported that Feinstein’s fragile appearance could be attributed to various complications that arose after her hospitalization for shingles in February, some of which had not been publicly disclosed. The shingles infection extended to her face and neck, resulting in vision and balance impairments, as well as facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
Additionally, the virus led to a previously undisclosed case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles. A spokesman confirmed on Thursday, following the initial report by The New York Times, that the encephalitis condition had “resolved itself” in March.
Post-shingles encephalitis, marked by brain inflammation, can result in persistent challenges for patients, including memory or language impairments, sleep disorders, confusion, mood disorders, headaches, and difficulties with mobility. Older individuals typically face more significant obstacles in their recovery.
Prior to her recent illness, Feinstein had already experienced notable memory issues, leading to concerns about her cognitive abilities, the Times noted, adding:
The grim tableau of her re-emergence on Capitol Hill laid bare a bleak reality known to virtually everyone who has come into contact with her in recent days: She was far from ready to return to work when she did, and she is now struggling to function in a job that demands long days, near-constant engagement on an array of crucial policy issues and high-stakes decision-making.