Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reports Of Jackson Suicide Attempt Denied

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. has been missing from Washington for a month now. After early rumors of his absence began circulating, his congressional staff belatedly put out a press release saying that he was taking time off to be treated by his physician for exhaustion. Today, pressure began to mount from members of Jackson's own political party to be more forthcoming as little information about his condition had been revealed publicly and as news reports indicated that he may not return to work until after Labor Day. WLS radio aired a report this afternoon claiming that Jackson had attempted to commit suicide. Jackson's father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. attempted to put down that rumor according to Politico:
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., in an interview with POLITICO, pushed back on an unconfirmed report that his 47-year-old son attempted suicide.
The elder Jackson was responding to a “rumor” broadcast by an Illinois radio station Tuesday. WLS of Chicago cited “two high-ranking people on the Democratic side of the aisle, in both fundraising and in the legislative branch” as the source of this information, none of which it had confirmed with Jackson’s office or family.
“No, that’s not true,” Jackson Sr. told POLITICO. “He’s with his doctor and getting treatment, regaining his strength. That’s all I really want to say at this point.”
Jackson Sr. added there was “no truth” to the WLS broadcast. “None at all,” he said.
An aide to the congressman also said the WLS report was inaccurate.
The timing of Jackson's medical leave is suspect. It came on the heels of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago announcing the indictment of  Raghuveer Nayak, an Illinois businessman who has helped Jackson raise campaign dough. Allegations surfaced during the investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's efforts to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama that Jackson had engaged Nayak to solicit campaign contributions to help him purchase an appointment to the Senate seat. Jackson was also forced to apologize after reports surfaced that he had carried on an extramarital relationship with a Washington hostess. Nayak reportedly purchased roundtrip airline tickets for the mistress to travel to Chicago.

Some in the Illinois media were relentless in demanding answers from Illinois' junior Senator, Mark Kirk, after he had to undergo emergency brain surgery to correct a life-threatening condition that was causing him to suffer symptoms of a stroke. The Chicago Tribune reported that Kirk used an assumed name, Hillel Underwood, when he checked into a Chicago hospital for treatment instead of his real name. An aide to Sen. Kirk said the Senate counsels members to use assumed names under such conditions.

Eric Elk, a top Kirk aide, wrote in an email that the senator used the alias Hillel Underwood to "enhance his privacy" and to "reduce the chances of unwanted visitors during his medical crisis" when he checked into Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Jan. 21.
Elk said Kirk "follows procedures recommended to members of Congress by the sergeant at arms, including using a pseudonym when checking into the hospital."
Chicago native Terry Gainer, who formerly led the Illinois State Police, is Senate sergeant at arms. Gainer said Friday that he was aware "early on" that Kirk was going to be hospitalized, but he could not recall when he discussed with the senator using an alias, which Gainer said was a "protective measure."
"I don't know that there was a threat, but I know he or his staff was concerned to want that privacy," Gainer said. In the past, he said, he has "very infrequently" counseled senators to use pseudonyms when checking into a hospital.
The late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson reportedly used an assumed name when she checked into Methodist Hospital for treatment. Carson's staff concealed from the public the fact that she was suffering a terminal illness when she was seeking re-election in 2006. Carson fell ill shortly after her re-election and performed little work in Congress before dying in late 2007. The groundwork in the interim was laid by her campaign operatives to ensure that her grandson, Andre Carson, would succeed her when a special election to replace her occurred. The plan worked marvelously.

UPDATE: NBC News' Andrea Mitchell took a crack at uncovering what ails Jackson. She reported today that had been admitted to a rehab facility in Arizona for treatment of an alcohol and drug addiction. Jackson's office quickly denied that he was being treated for alcohol or drug addiction. The report did get his office to admit that he was being treated for a "mood disorder" at an undisclosed inpatient facility outside of Chicago. From the Sun-Times:

“The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment,” according to a statement from the congressman’s office, citing Jackson’s unnamed physician.
In the statement, Jackson’s office noted: “In addition, the rumors about him being treated for alcohol or substance abuse is not true.”
The brief, carefully worded statement was released after NBC News reported that Jackson was being treated for alcoholism and addiction at an Arizona facility.
The network’s Andrea Mitchell, citing unnamed friends, reported the allegation of addiction Wednesday evening. But the network also quoted Jackson’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, denying he was in rehab.
The Sun-Times took a crack at defining what a "mood disorder" is:

Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association, says there are four basic forms of mood disorders: “major depression, cyclothymia (a mild form of bipolar disorder), SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and mania (euphoric, hyperactive, over inflated ego, unrealistic optimism.)”
According to the Mayo Clinic, “If you have a mood disorder, your general emotional state or mood is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances. The most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder (also called manic depression). Another mood disorder is seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression most often associated with fewer hours of daylight in the far northern and southern latitudes from late fall to early spring.”

1 comment:

Marycatherine Barton said...

I have never personally met the young congressman, but from the first time I watched videos of him making public appearances, besides seeming serious, he also looked sad, and I assumed he was troubled because he is aware of the many problems in America. He is lucky he can afford to pay for professional help for whatever is ailing him now.