Doctors, political experts react to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's health issues

Doctors say 1 in 3 of us will get shingles. Senator Dianne Feinstein got that, but she also has two complications.

One is Ramsey Hunt syndrome which 5 out of 100,000 patients can get after shingles and Encephalitis which affects 1 in. 40,000 shingles patients. Both are pretty rare.

Ever since returning to the Senate after her bout with shingles, Feinstein, 89, has been seen in a wheelchair with what appears to be facial paralysis.

The New York Times is reporting that Ramsey Hunt Syndrome, which is another form of shingles that affects the 7th cranial nerve. A note here: Dr. Suzie Bash, who is Director of Neuroradiology at RadNET, is not a Feinstein doctor nor is she personally familiar with the specifics of the Senator’s case.


She says that Feinstein’s ability to overcome this is based on the severity of her case.

"It’s very serious. Brain swelling is very serious." And, getting both complications, actually portends a poorer diagnosis or less chance of full recovery so, it’s concerning," Bash said.

About Feinstein, Loyola Marymount Political Science Professor Fernando Guerra says it is clear that she is not the same person she was 10 years ago, let alone 5 years ago.

Jessica Levinson, with the Loyola Law School, said the situation is sad and difficult. As for the Senate’s push to get Feinstein to resign, anything short of two-thirds of the vote will mean the Senator will be able to keep her seat.

"In the senate we have a history or aging senators being wheeled out to do their job; to vote on key issues and some of whom have passed away in office; some of whom have essentially been forced to resign," Levinson said.

"At the end of the day as long as she can be wheeled-in to vote I don’t think it’ll make a big difference," Guerra said.