Capitol doctor says no evidence of seizure, stroke during Mitch McConnell freezes

The Capitol's attending physician on Tuesday cleared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to continue his schedule after finding that he did not experience a seizure or stroke in two incidents during which he froze while speaking. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The Capitol's attending physician said Tuesday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did not experience a seizure or stroke in two incidents during which he froze up while speaking in public.

Dr. Brian Monahan wrote that brain scans conducted on the Kentucky Republican senator showed no evidence of a seizure disorder or stroke, adding there was also no evidence of "a movement disorder such as Parkinson's disease."

"After evaluating yesterday's incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned," Monahan wrote.

The first incident took place on July 26 at the U.S. Capitol as McConnell, 81, suddenly froze and went silent while answering a question during a press conference. The second occurred on Aug. 30 when he froze again for about 30 seconds while speaking to reporters in Covington, Ky.

Monahan said the exam, which was conducted following the second incident included "brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists for a comprehensive neurology assessment."

Aides for McConnell said the senator became "lightheaded" during the freezing episodes.

Monahan wrote that "occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration," suggesting the episodes may be after-effects from falls the senator had.

Doctors admitted McConnell in March after he fell during a dinner and suffered a concussion and a fractured rib, keeping him away from the Capitol for more than a month. He fell again in July while leaving an airplane at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va.

On Sunday, Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., came to the defense of McConnell, saying the longtime Kentucky senator is a "perfectly capable" leader despite health concerns.

"I will leave it up to him as to how he wants to discuss that with the American public," Rounds said. "But there's no doubt in my mind that he is perfectly capable of continuing on at this stage of the game. And he's got a good team around him. He's done a good job of developing that leadership team. They have been supportive of him."