Alabama senator Katie Britt hospitalized with facial paralysis

August 1, 2023

Alabama Senator Katie Britt (R) was rushed to the hospital over the weekend after her face suddenly went numb. 

The freshman lawmaker, 41, is recovering at home and doing okay, she said. The numbness was caused by a post-viral infection that led to a swollen facial nerve.

Britt said her condition is non-lethal and is expected to clear up within several weeks.

Senator hospitalized

The Alabama lawmaker was with family in Montgomery when the symptoms began. She was admitted to Baptist Medical Center South, where doctors determined she had a swollen facial nerve.

"While with my family in Montgomery this past weekend, I experienced a sudden onset of numbness in my face. I was admitted to Baptist Medical Center South for evaluation," she said.

"Doctors determined that my symptoms were a result of swelling of a facial nerve, most likely caused by a post-viral infection," she added. "A specialist from UAB has subsequently evaluated me on an outpatient basis and concurred with the prognosis and course of treatment."

Facial numbness can be caused by serious conditions like stroke. It is also a symptom of Bell's palsy, a usually temporary condition in which one side of the face becomes paralyzed. Bell's palsy is commonly associated with recovery from viral infections.

Recovery to take weeks

Britt said she is recovering at home and that it could take several weeks to get better. She thanked supporters for their prayers.

"My condition is not life-threatening, and recovery could take several weeks. I am grateful for the medical professionals providing excellent care, and my family and I are deeply grateful for your prayers."

Lawmakers have just skipped town for the August recess. They will return to the annual scramble to keep the government from shutting down. Britt sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which plays a significant role in authorizing federal spending.

Britt won election handily in November after defeating Republican Mo Brooks - who won, then lost, Donald Trump's endorsement - in a primary. She replaced Richard Shelby, her former boss.

"No one will worker harder than me in the United States Senate. I am going to listen to you, not lecture you. I know that every one of you is not going to agree with me on every single issue and that’s OK,” Britt said at the time.

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