During a discussion of mental illness and the human brain at the White House Monday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden wandered off into a tale of his first brain operation, in 1988 for a leaking aneurysm.
Mr. Biden told attendees at a conference that he was being wheeled into an operating room when he asked the neurosurgeon about his chances.
“He said, ‘Senator, for mortality or morbidity?’” Mr. Biden recalled. “I said, ‘What are my chances of getting off this table and being completely normal?’ He said, ‘Well, your chances of living are a lot better.’”
According to Mr. Biden, he then asked the surgeon, “What’s the most likely thing that’ll happen if I live?”
“He said, ‘Well, the side of the brain that the first aneurysm was on controls your ability to speak,’” Mr. Biden recalled. “Then I go, ‘Why in hell didn’t they tell me this before the ‘88 campaign?’ Could have saved us all a lot of trouble, you know what I mean?”
As a senator from Delaware, Mr. Biden ran for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1988 election but withdrew from the race in September 1987.