U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) remains hospitalized after suffering a stroke. The 52-year-old suffered a stroke on the right side of his brain and underwent surgery to help in his recovery. Dr. Richard Fessler, a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, says a four- inch-by-eight-inch piece of skull was removed to relieve swelling and pressure.
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On Saturday, Kirk checked into Lake Forest Hospital, near his home in Highland Park, with a headache and dizziness. Doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck and he was transferred to Northwestern, where further tests revealed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke. The surgery to relieve pressure took approximately three hours. Fessler says because the stroke was on the right side of the brain, Kirk’s motor skills on the left side of his body may be impaired, but it is too soon to tell to what extent. Fessler believes Kirk has a high chance for a complete recovery of his mental abilities. Kirk is being kept sedated and when taken out of sedation Fessler says the senator is alert and knows his surroundings and those around him. It could be weeks of months before Kirk recovers. In a statement, Kirk’s family says they are “very encouraged by the prognosis” and they are “confident that the fighter in him will prevail.”