Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders headed home to Burlington, VT, on Saturday to recover from a heart attack he experienced earlier in the week while on the campaign trail.
Sanders, 78, was released from a Las Vegas, NV, hospital on Friday and departed the city the next day. He had been campaigning in Nevada when he experienced chest pains on Tuesday night, and was later taken to the hospital.
Initially, the senator’s campaign had said only that he had received two stents in a blocked artery after feeling “some chest discomfort.” However, Sanders’ doctors released an additional statement through the campaign on Friday acknowledging that Sanders “was diagnosed with a myocardial infarction,” a fancy way of saying heart attack.
“The Senator was stable upon arrival and taken immediately to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, at which time two stents were placed in a blocked coronary artery in a timely fashion,” the statement from Sanders’ doctors said, according to NBC News. “All other arteries were normal.”
Upon his release early Friday evening from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, Sanders walked out of the hospital and raised his fist for the cameras. He thanked the hospital staff and said he felt “great.”
Later, Sanders posted a video on social media thanking his supporters for the “love and warm wishes,” and promising to return to the campaign trail soon, although he did not specify a date.
“Hello, everybody,” Sanders said. “We are in Las Vegas, I just got out of the hospital a few hours ago, and I’m feeling so much better.”
NBC said Sanders would be off the 2020 campaign trail “for the next several days,” but is expected to participate in the Oct. 15 Democratic presidential debate.
While Sanders seems to be in good spirits and on the mend, the events leading up to his three-night stay in the hospital sound pretty frightening.
Per The New York Times:
Mr. Sanders began experiencing chest discomfort on Tuesday evening during a grass-roots fund-raiser he was hosting at a Las Vegas restaurant. As he began taking questions from the audience, he asked a campaign aide for a chair. He did not stay much longer at the event, and became visibly uncomfortable in a car afterward, according to two campaign officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.
At that point, Mr. Sanders was taken to an urgent care facility, where doctors determined that he should be transferred to a hospital. He was then taken by ambulance to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center.
At the hospital, he was taken immediately to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, where doctors inserted two stents into a blocked artery. By Wednesday, he was talking to his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, about the campaign. By Thursday, he was walking laps around the hospital hallway, the officials said.
That unfortunate turn of events followed some positive news earlier this week when it was announced the Sanders campaign had raised an impressive $25.3 million in the third quarter of this year, up from $18 million in each of the previous two quarters. The average donation was just over $18, according to the campaign.