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Ginsburg Hospitalized Overnight for Reaction to Medications

Updated 4:23 p.m.
By Robert Barnes
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized overnight and released Thursday morning because of an adverse reaction to the combination of a prescription sleeping aid and over-the-counter cold medication, the Supreme Court public information office announced.

It is the second time in less than a month that the 76-year-old Ginsburg has been hospitalized, although for different reasons. She spent the night at Washington Hospital Center on Sept. 24 after she fell ill from receiving an intravenous treatment for anemia.

The court said Ginsburg became extremely drowsy after taking the combination of medicines, and she fell from her seat before takeoff on an overnight flight to London. Paramedics took Ginsburg from the plane to the hospital around 11:15 p.m.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer was with Ginsburg at the time and left the plane with her. They were two of four justices bound for London to celebrate the creation of that country's supreme court.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Antonin Scalia had departed on an earlier flight.

Breyer left for London later, but a court spokeswoman said Ginsburg was not able to reschedule her travel in time to make the festivities in England, and remained in Washington.

Ginsburg has been in precarious health this year. Doctors removed her spleen and a tiny cancerous tumor on her pancreas in February. Ginsburg has said she is cancer-free and, as a precaution, underwent chemotherapy.

Despite her ailments, she has missed none of the court's public sessions and keeps up an active speaking schedule. The court said that, after she was discharged, Ginsburg worked from home Thursday.

The statement from the court:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was taken to the Washington Hospital Center at approximately 11:15 p.m. Wednesday evening after an apparent adverse reaction to a sleeping aid combined with cold medication she took immediately after boarding an overnight flight bound for London. Prior to the plane taking off, the Justice experienced extreme drowsiness causing her to fall from her seat. Paramedics were called and the Justice was taken to the Washington Hospital Center as a precaution.

Justice Ginsburg was evaluated at the hospital and she was found to be in stable health. Doctors attributed her symptoms to a reaction caused by the combination of a prescription sleeping aid and an over-the-counter cold medication. She was admitted overnight for observation and was released this morning.

By Robert Barnes  |  October 15, 2009; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Current Justices , Supreme Court  
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As long as obama can nominate libs to replace libs, no problem...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 15, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Great. Coming soon: yet another militant, anti-White racist on the Court to join Sotomajor.

God help us all.

Posted by: tjhall1 | October 15, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Another reason for President Obama to nominate women to the Court. Actuarial tables--or for that matter a glance at the dining room at a senior center--suggests they generally outlive men. It's hard to tell whether Thomas is still alive, given that he never asks questions or writes much, but Scalia, Alito and especially the bright eyed boy Roberts seem vigorous. We need lots more women on the court, plus patience for thirty years or so.

Posted by: Rafaelo | October 15, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

She fainted after hearing Scalia suggest that Jews should accept the cross as their religious symbol. It was just a delayed reaction.

Posted by: hithere2 | October 15, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Ginsburg must have fainted when she found out that Obama is taking away her Medicare Advantage program.

Posted by: jdcw | October 15, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I wish Justice Ginsberg well. Let's also note that if she were an average American, her health problems, time away from work, time required to see doctors and to deal with her serious illness would endanger her job. If (more like when) she were forced to quit working--she would lose her health insurance and access to health care. THAT'S the problem with health care tied to the workplace. Mary Crotty, Massachusetts Nurses Association

Posted by: MaryCrottyRNJD | October 15, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Say what you will, the BEST part about Obama being president is HE gets to nominate the justices.

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 15, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Roberts or Scalia slipped her something. Probably Roberts.

Posted by: nakeddead | October 15, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I wish the justice well, but her "reaction" was preventable - she made a bad decision to take two drugs that have sedatives in them. Cold medicines frequently have antihistamines or sleep aids/cough suppressants in them. Taking those with a sleeping pill is dangerous. Hope she is OK.

Posted by: mdac | October 15, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

What I find odd is that there is no mention of her being ill. If she was well, why was she taking that drug cocktail?

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | October 15, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Just let me know when she's dead.....then it'll matter....

Posted by: WildBill1 | October 15, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Under Obamacare, she'd be dead already..

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 15, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Time has come for Madam Ginberg to limit her activity- Pancreatic cancer is slowly eating her. Try to live a little bit better quality of life. Death is assured, but quality has to be improved.
I wish her well and forget the doctors advice.Death is inevitable, but quality can be improved- commensense, I don't believe she is lacking

Posted by: jayrkay | October 15, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

bitter_bill writes
"What I find odd is that there is no mention of her being ill. If she was well, why was she taking that drug cocktail?"

Calm down there cowboy. She was on a prescription sleeping aid and over-the-counter cold medicine. That doesn't sound like a "drug cocktail" to thwart significant illness. Now go ask your doctor about Ambien and call me in the morning.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 15, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Another old fossilized liberal fall from her chair. Didn't the same thing happen to Sotomayor

Posted by: L1ncon | October 15, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Marycrotty said above "If (more like when) she were forced to quit working--she would lose her health insurance and access to health care."

Please note that Justice Ginsburg is of an age qualifying her for Medicare. She also qualifies for the Federal program and is (I believe) eligible to go to one of the Capital Area Medical Centers. She will lose nothing in the way of health care should she retire or become disabled by her health conditions.

Posted by: ethwc | October 15, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

she never should have been nominated or approved.


Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | October 15, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

WOW! a doper on the supreme court, who would have thunk it. had she not had good health insurance and had to drive herself to the hospital, she would have been busted for DUI

Posted by: theidahokid | October 15, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Obama will get another chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice, sometime next year.

Posted by: demtse | October 15, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

She looks like the crypt-keeper.

Posted by: johnbowers | October 15, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

God help us when we lose her.
Never in History have we had so despicable a Pope/Corporation indoctrinated Court!

Posted by: lufrank1 | October 15, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Sad. The one liberal, whom we know has an excellent mind. Have to make do with Catholic morons, pre-stone age, etc. And Justice Nazi Catholics Roberts and Scalia.

Maybe Sotomayor has some Jewish genes. Gray matter is helpful on the court. Will wait and see. Meanwhile old Anton ought to give it a rest. Maybe become a priest or something.

Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | October 15, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SISSD1 | October 17, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SISSD1 | October 21, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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