Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Illness Worse Than Previously Known: Report

The health problems that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is facing are worse than previously known, according to a report published Thursday.

Feinstein, 89, is suffering from vision and balance impairments as well as facial paralysis, also known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, because her shingles spread to her face and neck, sources disclosed to The New York Times.

These sources also said the senator developed encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain that can lead to complications such as memory loss, language problems, and confusion.

Feinstein, who announced in February she would not seek re-election in 2024, returned to Capitol Hill last week, ending a months-long absence as she dealt with a case of shingles. Feinstein showed up to the Senate in a wheelchair and said her doctors recommended that she work a “lighter schedule” as she continues to recover.

Feinstein is the Senate’s oldest member — and in recent years, some colleagues had already begun to raise concerns about her mental fitness. Feinstein is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her absence, the panel struggled to approve some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees over GOP opposition without her vote. Some Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), had even begun to call for Feinstein to resign.

CNN’s Manu Raju reported that Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he was unaware that Feinstein had contracted encephalitis. “You can tell that her right eye is affected by it. My mother went through something similar. It’s really a painful experience,” Durbin reportedly added.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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