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January 26th, 2015
 

UPDATE: Branstad “alert and resting comfortably” after falling ill; Zaun, Highfill describe what happened

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Written by: Kevin Hall
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Branstad inauguration

Updated with a statement from Branstad’s doctor.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was taken to the hospital after suffering what witnesses describe as a fainting spell during a noon ribbon-cutting ceremony at DuPont Pioneer in Johnston.

“He looked very tired to me and the next thing you know he started pausing his speech,” said State Senator Brad Zaun. “Someone from Pioneer brought a water bottle up to him. He took a drink and then you could tell he was starting to kind of lose his balance, like he was just lightheaded.”

That’s when Zaun, State Rep. Jake Highfill, Mark Joyce from Pioneer and a state trooper went to assist the governor.

“Me and Mark Joyce sat the governor down,” Highfill said. “He was coughing and he kind of fainted a little bit. We made sure he was ok. Somebody obviously called an ambulance. We had a nurse come in and she was great. She told us what to do with the governor, we just picked him up and put him on his side.”

“No one was really talking a whole lot, mostly just following all the directions the nurse told him to do, like taking a deep breath,” Zaun said.

Within a few minutes, Branstad was feeling better and even cracking jokes.

“When we did have him down he said, kind of jokingly, ‘My wife told me I shouldn’t go to work today,’” Zaun added. “He said that he’d been sick over the weekend. You could tell that he had a hoarse voice and I guess he’d been running hard, which is what our governor does. I think it was just a sign from God that maybe he needs to slow down a little bit and get some rest.”

Highfill and Zaun both said Branstad was “100 percent coherent” and answered all the questions accurately from the ambulance crew.

“He was conscious, alert and answering all of their questions,” Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers told TheIowaRepublican.com. “The governor’s vitals and initials tests were taken in the and they indicated the cause of the spell was a seasonal illness that the governor has been suffering from.”

Branstad was taken to Iowa Methodist Hospital. Upon arrival, he was given intravenous fluids after doctors noted that he was dehydrated and displaying symptoms of a viral illness. Out of an abundance of caution, doctors opted to admit the governor for overnight observation, rest and hydration.

Mark Purtle, M.D., chief medical officer of UnityPoint Health-Des Moines, stated the following:

“After personally reviewing the governor’s medical records, with his permission, and visiting with him and his attending physicians, we believe the governor has a viral illness with dehydration. We also conducted a series of tests in which we ruled out other contributing factors, including cardiac issues. The governor is still receiving fluids and is resting comfortably.”

“Gov. Branstad is currently alert and resting comfortably at Iowa Methodist Medical Center,” said spokesman Jimmy Centers in a statement. “He is being observed and hydrated after having flu-like symptoms. The governor did have a flu shot this season. The governor has been admitted and will be kept overnight out of an abundance of caution.”

Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds have cancelled all of their public events schedule for Tuesday in order to rest and recover from season illnesses. The lt. governor intends to visit her doctor on Tuesday morning out of an abundance of caution.

This is an update from our original story. You can view that draft below:

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has been suffering from a cold or flu-like symptoms and became ill during a ribbon-cutting event at DuPont Pioneer in Johnston earlier today. Reports from WHO-TV indicate the governor seemed to be slurring his words and he had to be taken into a room to lie down.

However, reports of a “collapse” were premature. Branstad was transported by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines.

“He was conscious, alert and answering all of their questions,” Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers told TheIowaRepublican.com. “The governor’s vitals and initials tests were taken in the and they indicated the cause of the spell was a seasonal illness that the governor has been suffering from.”

Both Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds have been battling cold or flu-like symptoms. Both Branstad and Reynolds spoke during the morning portion of the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday in Des Moines, but neither was feeling well.

Terry Branstad was sworn in to his record sixth-term as Iowa Governor on January 16.

We will provide more information when it becomes available.


About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for TheIowaRepublican.com.




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