Rep. Dave Reichert underwent life-saving brain surgery

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by ROBERT MAK / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 10, 2010 at 6:33 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 11:09 AM

BELLEVUE, Wash. - For the first time, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA 8th District) reveals he came close to death after suffering a head injury earlier this year.

At the time of the accident, it was reported that Reichert had to miss a vote in Congress in March because he had a small accident while doing yard work earlier in the year - he was hit by a tree branch. But now, in an exclusive interview with KING 5 News' Robert Mak, Reichert says he had to undergo life saving brain surgery.

Reichert says he has no memory of that accident but has pieced together what happened by talking with family and friends. Reichert says he was cutting firewood when a large branch snapped back and hit him.

For two months, Reichert says he had a headache but thought it was a sinus infection. But when he was back in the District of Columbia the symptoms got worse.

"The right side of my upper body went numb, my right arm went numb, right side of my cheek and neck went numb, and so the macho male and I think the cop thing in me is trying to (say) 'come on, you can, come back to life here,' and I thought maybe I'll just go to the doctors, So I went to the doctor, they said let's go to the hospital, the hospital did a C-T scan, this is at G-W, George Washington University in D.C., CAT scan discovered a blood, a pool of blood on the left side of my brain about the size of my hand, it had pushed my brain to the right side, quite a bit, and so they had to do emergency surgery.  They drilled, I think, four holes in my head, and so I had some titanium plugs in my skull," says Reichert.

"I was out, they told me it'd be a week, I was out in five days. I was on a plane on Tuesday night and gave a speech on Thursday morning to 900 people. They tell me it's the best speech I've ever given, so that was the funny part, I should have probably had brain surgery earlier."

At the time Reichert's office issued a statement saying the Congressman had a procedure to address a "chronic subdural hematoma" and that the procedure was a success. Abbey Schilling, a Reichert spokeswoman, declined to elaborate.

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