Ron Edmonds  /  AP file
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
updated 1/9/2004 2:49:59 PM ET 2004-01-09T19:49:59

Sen. Max Baucus underwent emergency surgery Friday morning to relieve pressure on his brain, apparently caused by a fall he took in a foot race in November.

Dr. Mark Sanz, Baucus’ personal physician, said the 62-year-old Democrat underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., Friday morning.

Sanz, who was not involved in the surgery, said Baucus was “doing fine” and expected to fully recover.

Baucus spokesman Barrett Kaiser said the senator had been feeling ill for some time and became dizzy on a flight to Phoenix Thursday. He said Baucus was checked in to a local hospital, where a CAT scan showed that fluid had built up on the outside of his brain, a condition known as a subdural hematoma.

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Sanz said the procedure Baucus underwent involved drilling small holes to drain away fluid and blood that had built up between the brain and the skull. The condition is fairly common in accidents involving trauma to the head.

The injury was believed to have occurred as the result of a fall Baucus took while running in the JFK 50-mile road race Nov. 22 in Maryland. Although Baucus finished the race, he suffered a black eye and needed stitches to close a wound.

He was in surgery for about two hours Friday, Kaiser said.

“Max is strong as an ox both physically and mentally,” Kaiser said. “He sailed through the procedure and we expect him to be back to 100 percent very soon.”

Kaiser said Baucus would likely check out of the hospital Saturday or Sunday.

Baucus, in his fifth term as Montana’s senior senator, is the top Democrat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. He served four years in the House of Representatives prior to that.

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