First lady, out of hospital, feels fine

Dizziness at event does not indicate a serious problem, Judge O'Malley says

May 03, 2007|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,Sun Reporter

Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley left the hospital yesterday evening after an overnight stay, saying that she felt fine and that the dizziness she experienced at a Tuesday charity luncheon did not indicate a serious health problem.

She and her husband, Gov. Martin O'Malley, left the University of Maryland Medical Center just before 7 p.m. to return home to Annapolis.

Judge O'Malley said doctors told her to take an aspirin every day but she did not provide details about her diagnosis.

"It's so complicated. I wish I could explain it all. They used a lot of big words," said the first lady, who is a Baltimore District Court judge. "They said all I have to do is take an aspirin a day and I'll be OK."

Not alarmed

Judge O'Malley, 44, had gotten up to speak at a charity luncheon for the House of Ruth, a Baltimore nonprofit that provides services for victims of domestic violence, when she started to feel dizzy and short of breath.

She said that she often feels an adrenaline rush when speaking in front of a crowd and that the sensation can make her nervous, so she was not immediately alarmed.

"After I stopped speaking, when I thought I would stop feeling nervous, I felt worse," she said, adding that she experienced chest pain.

Martin O'Malley, who walked out of the hospital with his wife, carrying a vase with a large bouquet of flowers in one hand and a pink-and-black Adidas gym bag in the other, joked that he has the same reaction in public speaking situations.

"I told her that happens to me every time I get in front of Jayne Miller and a microphone," the governor said, referring to a WBAL-TV reporter who was at the luncheon. "I said, `Sit down, have a drink of water and it'll go away.'"

The governor was with the first lady at the luncheon, which featured a keynote address from Tim Russert, the host of NBC's Meet the Press.

The couple left the benefit during Russert's speech and were taken to the hospital by paramedics.

Martin O'Malley stayed with his wife at the hospital, canceling appointments today to stay with her.

Heavy coverage

The first lady's trip to the hospital caused a stir - several reporters camped out in the parking lot of the hospital for hours yesterday to be on the scene in case the O'Malleys left.

While waiting for the first couple to emerge for a news conference, a TV news helicopter briefly circled overhead.

"I'm very appreciative of all the concern and all the attention and all the kindness, really, that people in the city and people in the hospital and everyone we've run into" have shown, the governor said.

He said he hoped his wife would serve as an example to others to seek medical care when they feel ill.

"A lot of times when people have experiences like this, they don't take it seriously and don't go to the hospital," he said. "Katie did the right thing."

Judge O'Malley said she got "the best medical care" from the staff at the medical center and was not concerned that the episode indicated long-term problems.

"I feel 100 percent," she said.

andy.green@baltsun.com

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