Flake: McCain ‘sounded great,’ as experts debate severity of conditionBy Joe Gilmore and Emma Lockhart
cronkitenews.azpbs.org WASHINGTON – Sen. Jeff Flake said fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain “sounded great” in a phone conversation Monday, just three days after McCain underwent surgery to have a blood clot removed from above his left eye. “I hope that we can get him back here as quickly as possible, we need him,” Flake said of his fellow Republican Tuesday after a news conference in Washington. McCain and officials at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix have said little about the procedure, except that after an annual physical doctors removed a “5-cm blood clot during a minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision” Friday at the Mayo Clinic. The statement went on to say that the procedure went “very well” and McCain was resting at home in good condition and would stay in Arizona for at least a week while he recovers. Calls to both McCain’s office and the hospital seeking updates on the senator’s progress Tuesday were not returned. Medical experts said blood clots in the brain are not unusual, but that the size of McCain’s – just about 2 inches – is unusual and that its still-undetermined cause could lead to further implications. “It sounded like there was little question that it needed to be operated on,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who covers medical issues for CNN. Dr. Walter Jean, a professor of neurosurgery at George Washington University, explained that the craniotomy McCain underwent would have required an “opening of the skull.” He said that blood clots in the brain are not uncommon but that a “5-centimeter one is quite large” and that it is a “pretty big deal.” Gupta, agreed that the 5-centimeter clot is a “sizable collection of blood.” Jean said that the cause of the clot is the “most interesting thing” about this. “They evacuated the clot and they sent the specimens to the pathologist,” Jean said. “That tells me, and this is somewhat speculative, that tells me that they think that there is a cause of the blood clot that is, at this point, still unknown.” Gupta talked about McCain’s history of melanoma. “If they do find evidence of melanoma there, then there’s going to be discussion as to what further types of therapies he may need,” Gupta said.