Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro has been moved to a hospital and rehabilitation facility in Atlanta as she continues to recover from encephalitis.
The announcement that Hagan had been moved to the Shepherd Center, which specializes in treating patients with spinal cord and brain injuries, came in a family statement. She has started to regain some of the responsiveness that she had previously lost, the statement said.
Before being moved to Atlanta, Hagan had been back in Chapel Hill recovering under the care of her doctor, William Powers of the UNC School of Medicine. Hagan was initially taken to a Washington, D.C., hospital’s intensive care unit after suddenly becoming ill.
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, and the type Hagan has is typically caused by a virus. Hagan’s doctors are still not sure how she contracted encephalitis, the family statement said.
Hagan’s husband, Chip Hagan, also released a statement, saying he was grateful for the concern and support his wife has received and continues to receive.
“We are very pleased with the treatment she is receiving at the Shepherd Center and hope it will help her recover from this illness,” he said. “While we remain optimistic for her recovery, we continue to recognize that her recovery will be a long process.”
Hagan, a 63-year-old Democrat, won a U.S. Senate seat in 2008 by defeating Elizabeth Dole.
Six years later, Hagan was unseated by Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in what was then the nation’s most expensive Senate race.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi