Mitch McConnell brain scans found no stroke, seizures, doctor says

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) leaves his Washington house to return to work at the U.S. Senate, less than a week after he froze for more than 30 seconds while speaking to reporters at an event in his home state of Kentucky, in Washington, September 5, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Brain scans conducted on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell found no evidence he has a seizure disorder or experienced a stroke in connection with the most recent of two episodes of freezing up as he spoke in public, a doctor said Tuesday.

Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, also told McConnell in a letter that there is no evidence that the Kentucky Republican has “a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease.”

“There are no changes recommended in treatment protocols as you continue recovery from your March 2023 fall,” Monahan wrote.

The 81-year-old McConnell was hospitalized in early March after suffering a concussion from a fall at at hotel during a private dinner in Washington, D.C.

McConnell froze up while speaking to reporters on Wednesday in Covington, Kentucky. He stood at a lectern for about 30 seconds without speaking after being asked a question.

He experienced a similar episode while speaking to reporters on July 26 in the Capitol during a press conference by Senate Republicans.

Monahan in his letter wrote that he examined McConnell after the second “brief episode.”

That exam “including several medical evaluations: brain MRI imaging, EEG study and consultations with several neurologists for a comprehensive neurology assessment.”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) waves as he leaves his Washington house to return to work at the U.S. Senate, less than a week after he froze for more than 30 seconds while speaking to reporters at an event in his home state of Kentucky, in Washington, September 5, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

In addition to ruling out a stroke, Monahan also ruled out the chance that McConnell had a transient ischemic attack, which is “a stroke that lasts only a few minutes,” according to the National Institutes of Health.

Monahan on Thursday had issued a letter saying he consulted with McConnell and “his neurology team>”

“After evaluating yesterday’s incident, I have informed Leader McConnell that he is medically clear to continue with his schedule as planned,” the doctor wrote. “Occasional lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and can also be expected as a result of dehydration.”