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Sen. Byrd, 91, hospitalized after fall

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the longest serving senator in history, was hospitalized Tuesday following a fall in his suburban Washington home.

Mr. Byrd, 91, fell Tuesday morning inside his McLean home. A caregiver called an ambulance as a precautionary measure, but doctors admitted Mr. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, to the hospital for a few days following an examination.

Though no broken bones or bruises were found, doctors discovered Mr. Byrd had an elevated white-blood-cell count, which can be an early sign of an infection, so they decided he should remain in the hospital for antibiotic treatment and observation.

A Byrd staffer said Tuesday afternoon the fall was likely caused by the senator's standing up too quickly.

Mr. Byrd is in good spirits and expressed his disappointment that he was unable to join his Senate colleagues Tuesday afternoon for the biennial Senate photo, the staffer also said.

Mr. Byrd has grown frail in recent years and was hospitalized in May and June with dangerous infections. He returned to the Senate in July to vote and earlier this month gave his first floor speech in months, in which he talked about the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.