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Here’s How Doctors On Cable News Assessed McConnell’s Freeze

Aug 18, 2023

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta both weighed in on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) latest freezing incident on Wednesday and suggested what the underlying health issue could be.

The 81-year-old McConnell froze for more than 30 seconds while taking questions from the press on Wednesday — the second freezing incident in just over a month.

On Fox News’ The Special Report with Bret Baier following the incident, Siegel noted that while he hadn’t examined McConnell, his best guess “would be Parkinson’s disease because that, in its later stages, can give you a freeze.”

Siegel added:

It can also explain why no one around him in these freezes is panicking and saying, ‘This could be a stroke. This could be a seizure.’ It could be those things too, by the way, but again, then you would rush him into immediate treatment and analysis. You’d do an MRI, you would do an EEG to see if it could be a seizure, but if it’s Parkinson’s, you already know about that and somebody diagnosed that clinically by doing an examination, and treatment helps by the way.

He continued, “Again, I’m not saying that’s what it is, but I think what’s really striking here is that alarm bells didn’t immediately go off among medical personnel around,” before concluding, “If he has latter stages of a neurological disease, I would think that he would consider stepping down.”

Gupta also raised the possibility of Parkinson’s disease during an appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.

“There’s a long list of possibilities here. I think what we saw was pretty concerning. I think most people could see that,” Gupta said. “It was similar to what we saw in July where there was this freezing. It’s the freezing of the speech, it’s the freezing of the body, it’s the tight sort of grasping of the side of the lectern.”

He continued, “His face even has this mask-like feature to it. So there’s a lot of things that are going on there.”

Gupta argued that while McConnell could have suffered from a seizure or something similar, “It could be something like when somebody comes off of their medications for things like Parkinson’s. When the medication start to wear off, they may start to have freezing episodes as well.”

Like Siegel, Gupta noted, “One of the things that was really noticeable to me is that when his aides approached him, they did not seem so surprised by this. While we’ve seen it a couple of times, you got the impression that this happens much more often. They didn’t seem particularly alarmed by it.”

He concluded, “If it was the first time or an unknown thing, I think there probably would have been more of a rush or an interest at least in getting him to a doctor more quickly.”

Watch above via Fox News and CNN.

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