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Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Strom Thurmond taken from Senate to hospital

October 3, 2001

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— Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, 98 and ailing, fainted Tuesday in the Senate chamber and was staying overnight in a hospital for observation and tests.

While Thurmond has been to the hospital several times including a February stay for fatigue this was the first time health problems affected him while in the Senate chamber.

Thurmond reported feeling weak to colleagues and then slumped over at his desk shortly after 10:30 a.m., said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who was presiding over the Senate at the time.

After an aide called for help, the senior Republican was moved to the floor in the aisle between the Senate desks, where Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a heart surgeon, and several medical personnel worked on him for several minutes.

Thurmond quickly regained consciousness, and was later taken from the Senate in a wheelchair. He waved before being taken away in an ambulance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"Are they really making all this fuss for me?" Thurmond said, according to Frist spokeswoman Margaret Camp.

Born in December 1902, Thurmond was first elected to the Senate in 1954 as a Democrat He switched to the Republican Party in 1964. In 1996, at the age of 93, he became the oldest person ever to serve in Congress.

Thurmond has gradually scaled back his duties in recent years as his health declined. Until June, when Democrats regained majority status in the Senate, he was third in the line of succession to the presidency, behind Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

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