Jesse Jackson Sr.: Son’s condition a ‘game-changer’
BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org July 28, 2012 2:08PM
Rev. Jesse Jackson gives a press conference in front of the AMC River East 21 movie theater complex, 322 E. Illinois St., July 28, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:29AM
Speaking at length for the first time about his son’s medical condition, the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Saturday described U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s illness as a “game-changer,” and said the famed Mayo Clinic “is the best in the world at treating what he’s dealing with.”
Jackson Jr. is being treated at the Minneapolis clinic for depression and “gastrointestinal issues,” the facility said in a statement Friday, after the Chicago Sun-Times first reported the congressman had been transferred there.
While the senior Jackson would not discuss details of his son’s diagnosis, he gave a glimpse into the effect it’s having on the Jackson family.
“I can only speak as a father and not as a doctor,” Jackson said. “When we found out he was struggling and not well, we immediately got him to medical care, where he’s been under, now, for several weeks. He’s gone to Mayo now, so we pray that the medical diagnosis and work will be successful. We also want those who appreciate his work to pray for him,” Jackson said.
Jackson was speaking to reporters after marching outside the AMC River East Theater, 322 E. Illinois, with about 50 other protesters and members of the clergy, who carried signs pushing a ban on assault weapons in the aftermath of the Colorado theater massacre.
Asked whether his son’s illness was related to the weight-loss surgery that Jackson Jr. underwent years ago, his father said: “That type of thing is for doctors to consider. I have no medical analysis.”
But he did talk about learning his son needed medical help.
“When my wife found that he was in a different place, [she] said, ‘Go to see him, quickly.’ Went to see him, and took him to the hospital,” Jackson said. “And the doctors determined there he needed a longer-term treatment. We took him away, and then after this stage of treatment, he is now at Mayo, and we can only hope for his full recovery and the regaining of his strength.”
As for the progress of hi son’s recovery, his father said: “That’s a medical assessment, you know? I’m reluctant to give a medical assessment because when I first saw him, I thought the issue was he was drained emotionally, but that was an emotional assessment by me.”
Asked about the depression diagnosis, Jackson said: “I really shouldn’t go any further, because I don’t know; all I know to say is, to be prayerful.
“Mayo is the best in the world at treating what he’s dealing with and so right now, I think we should [leave] the medical diagnosis and evaluation to the doctors,” he added. “Such a challenge is a game-changer, and challenges all members of a given family.”
Asked about his son’s progress, he replied: “There’s no timetable on his recovery. We hope he will fully recover. We ask people who appreciate this challenge to pray for him, and, if you will, for our family.”
Previously, the lack of communication from the congressman’s office about his condition had raised eyebrows and questions, along with calls from other pols to be more forthcoming about his diagnosis and treatment. Jackson Jr. has been on medical leave from Congress for more than six weeks.
Jackson Sr. traveled last week to Aurora to meet with victims of a gunman’s rampage at a movie theater that killed 12 and injured nearly 60 others. He marched Saturday outside the AMC River East Theater, 322 E. Illinois, with about 50 other protesters and members of the clergy who carried signs pushing a ban on assault weapons. “This is domestic terrorism,” he said.