NPR Story
5:55 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Sen. Mark Kirk Hospitalized for Gall Stones

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:33 pm

Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has had his gall bladder removed. The procedure happened Monday morning at a hospital in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

Kirk checked himself in to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital on Saturday. He reported feeling pain in his abdomen. Doctors diagnosed gall stones, and decided to remove his gall bladder.

Dr. Kim Sobinsky did the 30-minute operation. He says most patients recover pretty quickly.

"He'll be eating today, and he'll be able to pretty much negotiate like he has been, although he may be moving a little bit slower for a couple of days," Sobinsky says.

Kirk is already moving more slowly than he used to. A stroke in 2012 had him in rehab for nearly a year; this week's Senate votes will be the first he's missed since returning to the Senate in January.

Dr. Sobinsky says removing gall bladders is a really common procedure, happening hundreds of thousands of times a year in the U.S.

"He's one of three who I'm going to do today," he says.

Sobinsky says people without gall bladders can live a normal life.

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