Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Hospitalized After Fall

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Hospitalized After Fall
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, breaks ribs in fall
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell in her office and fractured three ribs. The 85-year-old liberal justice was admitted to a hospital Thursday.

Ginsburgs health has been a matter of intense speculation in recent years. The courts oldest member, Ginsburg has survived multiple bouts with cancer, and in 2014 underwent a procedure to have a stent placed in her right coronary artery.

RBG: What is the therapy for broken ribs?

“She went home, but after experiencing discomfort overnight, went to George Washington University Hospital early this morning,” the court said in a statement Thursday. “Tests showed that she fractured three ribs on her left side and she was admitted for observation and treatment.”

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It is not the first time that Ginsburg has fractured her ribs while on the court. In June 2012, Ginsburg fractured two ribs in a fall and did not disclose the injury to the public until months later. The court said at the time that despite the fracture, Ginsburg “did not skip a beat.”

A complete break requires making sure the two ends are in alignment, so that a sharp piece of bone doesnt puncture nearby blood vessels or organs. Broken ribs typically heal on their own in six weeks to a month, and patients are advised to limit strenuous activity. But they can be very painful and controlling pain is key. A chief complication is pneumonia, when patients dont breathe deeply enough or cough enough because of the rib pain.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is in the Hospital With 3 Broken Ribs. Heres What Her Recovery Could Look Like

The Brooklyn-native, one of four liberal justices on the nine-member court, has said she plans to serve on the bench until she is 90, and has hired law clerks through 2020.

Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg rebuffed suggestions from some liberals that she should step down in the first two years of President Barack Obamas second term, when Democrats also controlled the Senate and would have been likely to confirm her successor.

Justice Ginsburg in hospital after fracturing 3 ribs in fall

Her approach to the law has been described as cautious, though she has been influential in shaping jurisprudence in cases involving gender discrimination, womens reproductive health and international law.

She was the principal author of a landmark brief that led Supreme Court in 1971 to apply the the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to women.

Ginsburg, the second of four women to serve on the high court, was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Before joining the court, she worked as the director of the ACLUs Womens Rights Project.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, Rushed To Hospital After Falling In Office & Breaking 3 Ribs

News of Ginsburgs fall comes on the same morning as the formal investiture of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trumps second nominee to the high court.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in a Washington hospital today, after she fractured three ribs. Ginsburg is 85. A spokeswoman said she fell in her office last night, and was hospitalized early this morning. The justice broke two ribs in 2012, and had other health problems, but she has never missed Supreme Court arguments.

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On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized with three broken ribs after a fall on Wednesday evening in her office.

A more workable change would be to appoint justices for single 18-year terms—staggered, so that each president gets two appointments per term—rather than for life. Each presidential term would thus leave an equal mark on the court, and no single justice would remain on the bench for 30 or 40 years. New blood would make the court more vital and dynamic. A poll taken in July showed widespread bipartisan support for term limits. So long as former justices were prevented from standing for office, becoming lobbyists or lawyers after stepping down from the court, this would be an improvement.

Ginsburg, 85, reportedly went home after her fall. After experiencing discomfort overnight, she called Supreme Court police to take her to George Washington University Hospital, where she was admitted for treatment and observation. Doctors found three broken ribs on her left side, said Kathy Arberg, a Supreme Court spokeswoman.

With at least two more years of the Trump administration and a Republican-dominated Senate on the horizon, Ginsburgs injury brought forth fervent interest in her health and longevity.

Sadly, Ruth has struggled with her health for years. She was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999, and had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Then, in 2009, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had to have surgery once again. Luckily, her tumor was detected at an early stage, and she was able to quickly return to her seat on the Supreme Court bench. Ruth also had a stent placed in her coronary artery in Nov. 2014. 

The top 5 self-care practices we want RBG to do while shes on the mend

For people of Ginsburgs age, fractured ribs are a relatively common, though painful, injury. Rarely is there a need for surgical intervention or orthopedic treatment. The severity of the injury depends in part on whether the ribs are cracked or broken all the way through. In Ginsburgs case, the extent of her injury has not been disclosed.

At 85 years old, Ruth is the oldest justice in the Supreme Court. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and has proudly served for more than 25 years now. Over the summer, she admitted that she planned to serve on the Supreme Court for at least five more years.

Alison Mainardi, an internist with the American Infusion Center in New York City who has dealt with patients with fractured ribs, told the Daily Beast that complications from rib fractures are infrequent but not unheard of. When a fracture causes the patient pain from deep breathing, a slight collapse of the lung can occur, Mainardi told The Daily Beast. That collapse can make breathing difficult and require treatment.

“My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90,” she told CNN. “So I think I have about at least five more years.” Anthony Kennedy just stepped down from the court earlier this year at the age of 82.

Video: Ruth Bader Ginsburgs broken ribs “should get better,” Dr. LaPook says

Mainardi added that patients experiencing pain from fractured ribs may be reluctant to cough, and that cough suppression can result in the formation of a secondary chest infection—which can be life threatening, particularly for someone of Ginsburgs age.

In most cases, fractured ribs will simply heal on their own in a matter of weeks, though Mainardi estimated that complications may occur in as many as 30 percent of cases. As Mainardi cautioned, the older a patient, the more likely they are to experience complications.

Rib fractures are common among older adults, particularly after falls. The severity depends in part on whether the ribs are cracked or broken all the way through, and how many are broken. The extent of Ginsburgs injury was not clear at press time. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg rebuffed suggestions from some liberals that she should step down in the first two years of President Barack Obamas second term, when Democrats also controlled the Senate and would have been likely to confirm her successor.

The incidence of osteoporosis as well as decreased muscle mass are chief factors in the greater risk to older patients as is greater susceptibility to infection and pneumonia. These risk factors and the risk of potential complications usually result in longer hospital stays for older patients with broken ribs.

Treatment for rib fractures involves time and patience, consisting of rest, deep breathing exercises (including use of an incentive spirometer, a simple device that measures air intake and breathing pace), and pain management.

In 1999, she was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent surgery followed by both chemotherapy and radiation treatment during which she didnt miss a single day on the bench. Ginsburg underwent surgery again in 2009, this time for pancreatic cancer. In 2012, Justice Ginsburg disclosed that she had recently broken two ribs in a fall but had not taken any time off after the injury because of the courts heavy workload at the time. And in 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after experiencing discomfort while exercising in the Supreme Court gym.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, hospitalized after breaking 3 ribs in fall

Justice Ginsburg has said in the past that she will serve as long as her physical health and mental acuity remain intact. During a speaking appearance in New York in July, Ginsburg said she expected to serve on the court for at least five more years. I'm now 85," she said. My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years."

Video: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Brooklyns Own Supreme Court Justice | History

Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized after fracturing 3 ribs in fall

When she was asked last year if she was anticipating retirement, Ginsburg said, As long as I can do the job full steam, I will do it.


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