D.C. Councilman Marion Barry released from hospital after blood sugar scare

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Marion Barry

D.C. Councilman Marion Barry left a Washington hospital Wednesday after a one-night stay, an episode that was a high-profile reminder of the aging lawmaker's questionable health and widespread influence.

"He's at home and resting," said Barry spokeswoman LaToya Foster, who added that Barry is "in great spirits."

The 77-year-old Barry was admitted to Howard University Hospital on Tuesday after his blood sugar fell to a low level. Barry has had diabetes for about 20 years.

Physicians at Howard ordered Barry held overnight for observation before releasing him Wednesday and changing the medication he uses to manage his condition.

Barry, the city's only four-term mayor, said on Twitter that his doctors had switched him from a fast-acting insulin to a medicine with a slower release.

"Much love for all the prayers and well wishes," Barry wrote on Twitter, the same outlet he used to announce his hospitalization.

Barry also used his Twitter account to encourage his followers "to change our diets and demand healthier food options in our neighborhoods."

Barry, who has been hospitalized at least three times since January 2012, has a complex and varied medical history.

Most notably, he underwent a kidney transplant in 2009, fought prostate cancer in 1995, was wounded in a 1977 shooting and has struggled with drug addiction.

Surgeons also operated on Barry's urinary tract last year, and he was admitted to a Las Vegas hospital in May 2012 for treatment of a blood clot.

Between those two episodes, Barry told The Washington Examiner in February 2012 that he was in "beyond good health" and that his "greatest deficiency is not enough exercise."

In another interview two months later, Barry told The Examiner that his longevity "is in itself almost a miracle."

Despite his health challenges, Barry has been a robust participant in recent D.C. Council debates, and he remains one of the John A. Wilson Building's most prominent forces.

"He's definitely a player on the council," said Chairman Phil Mendelson, who has repeatedly sparred with Barry. "If it's an issue that he cares passionately about -- and there are many -- then members are going to have to deal with him."

Barry's also not poised to give up his power anytime soon. He easily won re-election last year.

But Mendelson predicted Barry would know when it was time to leave office.

"Clearly, he's driven by a commitment to public service," Mendelson said. "I think he realizes that at some point when he doesn't have the energy, he'll need to step aside. I don't think he's at that point."SClBWard 2 Councilman Jack Evans doubted, though, that Barry would exit public life.

"He's going to keep doing what he's doing," Evans said. "He hasn't lost a step."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner