Kennedy Out of Hospital, Headed for Hyannisport

(Stephan Savoia/Associated Press photo)

Senator Edward M. Kennedy walked out of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Wednesday.

 

BOSTON — One day after learning that he has a malignant brain tumor, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts Democrat and patriarch of the Kennedy family, walked out of a hospital to a crowd of well wishers on Wednesday, appearing strong and cheerful.

Mr. Kennedy was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital on Saturday after suffering a seizure at his Cape Cod compound. After several days of tests, a preliminary biopsy of the brain revealed that Mr. Kennedy, 76, has a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe on the upper part of his brain, a cancer that often carries a bleak prognosis.

But if there were any signs that the diagnosis had slowed Mr. Kennedy or dampened his spirits, they were not evident as he left the hospital on Wednesday morning. Holding hands with his wife and walking side by side with his children, Mr. Kennedy exited the hospital to cheers and cries of good luck from a few dozen supporters who had gathered outside the hospital. Mr. Kennedy waved and gave a thumbs up sign as he walked to his car, then circled back and played with his two dogs before getting into a car and driving off.

The only evidence of the procedure and diagnosis appeared to be a two-inch by two-inch bandage on the back of Mr. Kennedy’s head.

Dr. Lee H. Schwamm, the hospital’s vice chairman of neurology, and Dr. Larry Ronan, Mr. Kennedy’s primary care physician at the hospital, said in a statement that Mr. Kennedy “has recovered remarkably quickly” and would be awaiting further test results and treatment plans while recovering at his Cape Cod home.

On Tuesday, they explained his treatment options, saying that the usual course for someone with his history and diagnosis includes “combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy.”

News of the brain tumor jolted people in Washington, Massachusetts and beyond, generating reaction from around the world, where Mr. Kennedy’s family legacy and his 46 years in the Senate have made him a well-known figure.

Aside from an unsuccessful run for president in 1980, Mr. Kennedy has focused his energy on issues including health care, education and civil rights. Despite his liberal ideology and occasional loud clashes on the Senate floor, Mr. Kennedy is held in high esteem by the opposition for his determination, understanding of the issues, and a willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion on subjects like education, health care and immigration.

“Senator Kennedy enjoys great respect and admiration on this side of the aisle,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. “He is indeed one of the most important figures to ever serve in this body in our history.”

In a statement, President Bush said, “Ted Kennedy is a man of tremendous courage, remarkable strength, and powerful spirit.” Mr. Bush said he and his wife, Laura, “join our fellow Americans in praying for his full recovery.”

Senator John McCain echoed that sentiment, and both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked Mr. Kennedy at length on Tuesday night in their speeches following the Oregon and Kentucky primaries.

Doctors and people close to Mr. Kennedy said on Tuesday that while he was in the hospital he was “in good spirits and full of energy” and “in overall good condition.” He has not had another seizure since he was hospitalized, they said.

“Right now, he’s his normal self, except for the news that he’s dealing with,” said a close friend who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I bet he’ll be back at the Cape sailing this weekend. I expect he’ll go back to work” after the Memorial Day recess.

Senate Democrats and Republicans learned of Mr. Kennedy’s condition as they were gathered for their weekly closed-door party luncheons, and members of both parties were visibly shaken by the news.

As he opened debate on the Iraq spending bill, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, at 90 the only current senator to serve longer than Mr. Kennedy, was distraught. “Ted, Ted, my dear friend, I love you and miss you,” Mr. Byrd said in halting remarks on the floor.

Malignant glioma is the most common form of brain cancer, accounting for about 9,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. They are more common in older people, especially those between the ages of 75 and 84, according to the American Cancer Society.

The prognosis varies depending on the type and severity of the tumor, and the patient’s age. The American Cancer Society said survival rates dropped with increasing age.

Dr. Patrick Y. Wen, clinical director of the Center for Neuro-Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said the average prognosis for the most aggressive type of glioma was 14 to 15 months, while the prognosis for slower-growing tumors was two to four years.

“This is a sad situation,” Dr. Wen said. He said that such tumors can sometimes affect sensation, speech, or vision, and that tumors in older people tend to be harder to treat. “These are unfortunately aggressive tumors.”

Alain Charest, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Tufts Medical Center, said if the tumor could be removed surgically doctors would do so, although gliomas are difficult to remove because cells from the tumor tend to travel to other parts of the brain. Radiation and chemotherapy usually follow surgery.

Dr. Carl B. Heilman, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Tufts Medical Center, said that most people went back to work after a biopsy, and that many patients responded well to radiation therapy and oral chemotherapy at first.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said on Tuesday in Washington that he had visited Mr. Kennedy over the weekend.

“He’s in a fighting mood,” Mr. Kerry said. “He is asking questions about what the choices are for him. He’s deeply involved in making all the kinds of personal decisions that any of you would.”

Mr. Kerry added: “He would call you and help arrange a discussion with a bunch of doctors to talk about a wife who was sick or a child or any number of things — now everybody needs to do that on behalf of Ted. Everybody needs to pull for him and his family and remember that this guy is one unbelievable fighter.”

In Massachusetts, the impact of Mr. Kennedy’s persona and political legacy is hard to overestimate.

“There’ll never be another Ted Kennedy,” said Paul S. Grogan, president and chief executive of the Boston Foundation, which finances nonprofits involved in economic development and other state issues. “He’s sort of Horatio at the bridge. He’s been such an outsized figure, so influential, so effective.”

Mr. Grogan said that Mr. Kennedy had given Massachusetts a level of political prominence beyond what would normally be accorded a state of its size, and that he had helped engineer policies and financing mechanisms that benefited important sectors of the state, including universities and medical centers.

“He’s single-handedly postponed the onset of Massachusetts’s political decline,” Mr. Grogan said, adding, “His vigor, his vitality and his longevity has kind of encouraged us all to believe that he’s immortal, and we’ve gotten used to the idea that he’s going to be around forever. But this is a reminder that he’s not.”

Cameron Kerry, a lawyer who is the brother of Senator Kerry, said the news of the brain tumor was “like an earthquake,” adding, “He’s just such a colossus that this kind of shakes the ground underneath everything.”

Mr. Kerry said that “on a political level, he’s just been so good to my brother and to the whole family. He really is like family.”

Jack Connors, a businessman who is active in Democratic causes, said: “Ted Kennedy raised public service to an art form. Ted Kennedy has really been a hero for people who don’t really have much of a voice.”

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, called him “clearly the most influential senator in U.S. history.” Mr. Frank added: “His personality, his understanding of the legislative process, his dedication. He has a good sense of other people, a lot of empathy. And he hires first-rate people and knows how to benefit from them.”

Legislators close to Mr. Kennedy, like Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said on Tuesday that they were certain Mr. Kennedy would return to work and would battle the tumor with his characteristic tenacity and energy.

“He’s a fighter,” said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, “and he’s definitely ready for this fight.”

Pam Belluck reported from Boston. Carl Hulse contributed reporting from Washington and Katie Zezima contributed reporting from Boston.

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Filed under election 2008, hillary clinton, jackie kennedy, JFK, JFK Jr., John F. Kennedy, john f. kennedy jr., media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Kennedy Out of Hospital, Headed for Hyannisport

  1. Pingback: John McCain 2008

  2. Jack Mosel

    In watching the media yesterday, following the results for Kentucky & Oregon’s election results for this primary, I felt that there is a very real sense of unity in the democratic party or at least unity within democratic people.

    Sen. Kennedy was noted as passing the Kennedy legacy torch to Barrack Obama. He did this very publicly and with much conviction. I heard that statement and I feel strongly that he made a great descision in doing this. I don’t care what the rhetoric is these days about making much ado about nothing really in regard to the infighting and deliberate cannon fodder which is being used to keep this democratic party seperated. The fact that Sen. Kennedy, the last of the legacy of politicians and political leaders in office has passed the torch to this man is monumental to me and I was validated in my conviction last night by no less than the main stream media including Keith Olberman.

    We need to get over our petty distractions (Sen. Clinton) we need to rally and unify for real. We need to back up Barrack with full conviction and full resolve to literally battle this bafoon GOP party in office and smack down their idiology of trickle down (sham) economics and NWO, Fascist,Dictoral, self-serving, NAZI practices.

    Sen. Kennedy needs our help, I’m confident that he will go from a lifetime of public service and championing the very causes which have formed into a crescendo and are at apex today, in the form of actualizing everything that he is vehemantly opposed to. We saw Senators and friends cry in public and on record yesterday. This is the human proof that there is a connection and a thread which is shot through us all, in our commonality, which is patriotism in its’ finest hour amidst and up against our most formiddible and concretely, diametrically opposed axis’s of evil and those forces are from within our own government!

    I make relevant and connected causally related attachment to this very time and this very circumstance to this patriot and his life’s work individually and extend that relevance and history to the legacy of which we know of as everything Kennedy.

    Barrack Obama has had the full weight and full priviledge and full honor bestowed upon him from Sen. Kennedy himself to effect this movement from which Sen. Kennedy and everything Kennedy has stood for and endured for all of my life. These past forty some odd years cannot go unanswered for. The literal crimes and un-patriotic injustices which have been perpetuated from this criminal elite must stop and the time and place for doing this is now.

    Rest well Senator Kennedy, anyone that throws a stone at you or yours in these times has either been paid well or is asleep or is just plain dumb as a stump…

    RFK, Jr. It’s time sir… It’s time.

    Let’s roll

  3. Taken from New frontier’s web blog…

    “We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution.

    Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

    This much we pledge—and more.”

    — President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address. January 20, 1961.

    Let’s Roll…

  4. chrisy58

    Jack, what a wonderful post!!!!!

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  6. Allison

    Right-wing hate jock Michael Savage has actually taken some nasty shots at both Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd on his radio show. (See mediamatters.org for all the gory details.)

    Alan Colmes, on his blog, Liberalland, has some nasty comments about Ted from Free Republic and Little Green Footballs.

    What is wrong with these people?

    I give credit to someone like Mac Johnson above who can show compassion to someone even if he doesn’t agree with that person’s political views.

  7. Jack Mosel

    Thanx Chrisy… It was good to hear from Sen. McCain’s supporter here too. I think when everything of mortality and kinship with those whom we hold dear is imbalanced or threatened, our nation has the ability to show great comapassion and incredible unity. Too bad we are left to devisive and seperateness which is the two party system of Democrats and Republicans…

    It would be great to judge and to be judged and to lead and to not lead by the merits of one’s individual leadership qualities collectively and not by first and foremost being a member of one fixed idiology of government or another.

    We need transparancy and accountability in our government today. Cooperation and collaboration, empathy and symapthy, unity and civility… When we reach this, we will have the envy of the world and will be an adult and mature society… We have some work to do and we have to hold those accountable for our perceived demise to task before we can begin… I hold out for actualizing this and I trust we can catylize ourselves from a Kennedyesque reference in our starting out to effect real change for ourselves today and for ourselves in the future.

    we might be rolling…

  8. Jack Mosel

    WHO WILL CARRY THE TORCH?

    WE WILL…

    BUT FIRST..

    “There has been no greater failure in the history of the Congress and the American people than our present failure to proceed with impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and others for these long near eight years of high crimes and misdemeanors, trashing our most precious principles by torture, aggression, and lies, making America the enemy of humanity in many eyes. Our failure to act now may expose America and the world to years of war, impoverishment, environmental degradation and suffering.

    The Constitution is far more explicit about the importance and procedure for impeachment than any other power vested in the Congress.

    It provides in Article II, Section 4, that “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and in Article I, Section 2, that “The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

    A Bill of Impeachment filed in the House of Representatives is referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The Judiciary Committee has the primary responsibility for initiating and receiving all Bills of Impeachment, investigating, conducting hearings, voting on and sending those Bills of Impeachment to the House of Representatives for final determination. Its faithful performance of this awesome duty is essential to the integrity, honor and survival itself of Constitutional government in the United States.

    The Judiciary Committee and its Chairman have failed to act in the face of overwhelming evidence of the most grievous high Crimes and Misdemeanors ever to imperil our nation and its place among nations.

    It is imperative that We, the People of the United States, demand of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and its Chairman John Conyers that they immediately commence consideration of the many allegations of impeachable offenses by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other civil Officers of the Untied States and present a comprehensive Bill of Impeachment for Committee consideration by July 4, 2008.

    I ask every American who cares about the integrity of our government and the welfare of our People and those we assault to immediately demand Chairman John Conyers and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives commence hearings on a Bill of Impeachment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others by July 4, 2008.”

    Taken from: e-mail from Ramsey Clark (former Justice dept. aide to RFK and U.S. Attorney General, LBJ administration)
    May 20, 2008

    Let’s do to Bush what he and “His” did to Clinton on the way out and for ruining a dress… Let’s get our record straight and show the world that we mean business alright when it comes to straight talk about Nuclear War! Let’s set our ourselves straight to everyone who watches us… which is the entire world! That we can take care of our own problems, that they can believe in our Democratic society, that we see where we went wrong, in not reining these bafoons in… That we won’t tolerate terrorism dammit! and that we sure as hell won’t tolerate it from our own house, from our own soil, from our own country!!!

    It ain’t “The Homeland”!!! That’s Hitler shit! I never heard the U.S.A. been called the “Homeland” in all my life! It’s only been “The Homeland” since this NAZI called it that from guidance of Rove and Zelicow immediately after 9/11/2001!!! how about you? anyone remember our country EVER been called “The Homeland”?! Rant on that one O’Reilly… BillO

    We talked some time ago about being exhausted and being worn down and why are we here and what’s the use… BS! I remember before that converstaion we talked about fear and intimidation and pumping up conviction and resolve to just keep on bloggin here… In the name and spirit of our generations’ forefathers, the Kennedy’s… I repeat… I ain’t scared, I ain’t intimidated, I ain’t tired!

    I’m doing my civic duty… Do you think they called paul Revere a liberal?! Do you think when the shot was heard round the world in Lexington, Mass. that the locals said “Damn Liberals, deserved to get shot!”, do you think that the parchment, which is the reason for you and I breathing free fresh air is a Liberal rag?! This President does and I’m a patriot that takes this shit personal… We said we needed change back then too. We did something about it too. We have been tolerating Watergate on steroids and acid for some 8 years now!!!

    Sen. Kennedy, many of us believe your personal losses and ours of your brothers were more than conveinient for the times… Many of us have held out for justice for those events… Our actions today in impeaching this crowd, may help to level the field, if my assumptions are true. Either way, I’m entitled to my free thoughts, I place them here freely on this site and speak freely of my mind as if I were speaking to your Brothers directly. It’s with your brothers memory in my earliest memories, that I form my earliest American identity. It’s with the same feeling of perpetual morning and loss that I take angry strength in relentless outrage and civic action, to blog (or rant) here.

    This site is my “bomb shelter”, I feel strong and American and safe here because it’s Kennedy’s site.

    John Conyers… How you Gonna Act Sir!???

    Let’s Roll!!!

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