Surgeons at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, performed brain surgery on Senator Ted Kennedy this morning. His doctor has announced that Kennedy is out of surgery and the “procedure to treat his cancerous brain tumor “was successful.””
“I am pleased to report that Senator Kennedy’s surgery was successful and accomplished our goals,” said Dr. Allan Freidman in a statement released by Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
A Kennedy spokeswoman said the senator told his wife Vicki after the procedure, “I feel like a million bucks, I think I’ll do that tomorrow.”
“The surgery lasted roughly three-and-a-half hours and is just the first step in Senator Kennedy’s treatment plan,” Freidman said, adding he was awake during the procedure and, “should experience no permanent neurological effects from the surgery.”
The 76-year-old senator now faces chemotherapy and radiation to treat his malignant glioma, a lethal type of brain tumor, Freidman said.
Kennedy said in a statement today “that over the past few days he and his wife, Vicki, “along with my outstanding team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, have consulted with experts from around the country and have decided that the best course of action for my brain tumor is targeted surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation.””
He selected a team of neuro-oncologists from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and Duke University Medical Center was to perform the surgery.
“I am deeply grateful to the people of Massachusetts and to my friends, colleagues and so many others across the country and around the world who have expressed their support and good wishes as I tackle this new and unexpected health challenge,” Kennedy said. “I am humbled by the outpouring and am strengthened by your prayers and kindness.”
After his treatment, Kennedy said, “I look forward to returning to the United States Senate and to doing everything I can to help elect Barack Obama as our next president.” Kennedy has endorsed Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Dr. Friedman is “chief of the division of neurosurgery in the surgical department at Duke and also co-director of the neuro-oncology department.” He is considered to be ““one of the thought leaders” and a giant in the field of neuro-oncology, said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, speaking from Chicago, where more than 30,000 cancer specialists are attending an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference.”
Kennedy was “flown to Duke Medical Center over the weekend.” Along with his wife, Vicki at the hospital, is “the senator’s son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) and his sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, Coley said. Other family members also are expected, an aide said.”
The NY Times notes a report in the Boston Globe that said “before leaving for North Carolina, Kennedy telephoned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to tell him of his plans and to highlight two significant pieces of legislation that Kennedy has in the works: higher education reauthorization and mental health parity.”
The senator also called Senators Christopher Dodd and Barbara Mikulski to ask their help in shepherding the bills through their respective conference committees.
Get well soon, Senator! We’re all praying for you.