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Justice Ginsburg hospitalized after feeling faint

The 76-year-old underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in February and had received intravenous iron therapy earlier in the day. She joined the Supreme Court in 1993.

September 25, 2009|David G. Savage

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was taken to a Washington hospital Thursday evening after becoming faint and light-headed in her office.

A court spokeswoman downplayed the incident and said a comprehensive medical evaluation in July found the 76-year-old justice to be "in completely normal health." That exam followed the justice's surgery in February for pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg's summer check-up found that she had a low red blood cell count caused by an iron deficiency, and she had received intravenous iron therapy Thursday afternoon.

"One hour following the completion of this infusion, she felt faint, developed light-headedness and fatigue," the court said in a statement.

A medical assistant said she had a slightly low blood pressure, and the justice "was taken as a precaution for evaluation at the Washington Hospital Center."

Ginsburg has had two bouts with cancer. In 1999, she had surgery for colorectal cancer and underwent chemotherapy for months afterward. But her doctors said she emerged from that ordeal in good health. She was undergoing an extensive round of medical tests this year when doctors discovered an early stage tumor in her pancreas.

Although the disease often has a grim prognosis, Ginsburg's doctors indicated that she could be the exception because the cancer was discovered so early.

Ginsburg underwent chemotherapy after her more recent surgery as well, but she did not miss a single day of oral arguments at the high court.

An appointee of President Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg told law students during the summer that her goal was to serve as long as her hero, Justice Louis Brandeis, who retired at age 82.

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david.savage@latimes.com

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