Hospitalized Marion Barry apologizes for nurse comments

Local,DC,Alan Blinder

It took a trip to a Las Vegas emergency room to prompt D.C. Councilman Marion Barry to apologize for insensitive remarks about Filipino nurses he made nearly a month ago.

In a message posted to Twitter, the District's only four-term mayor thanked the "outstanding medical staff, incl. kind professional Filipino staff."

In April, Barry, who represents Ward 8, prompted a firestorm when said he was concerned that so few American students were entering nursing.

"In fact, it's so bad that if you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines," Barry said. "And no offense, but let's grow our own teachers, let's grow our own nurses -- and so that we don't have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places -- having to hire people from somewhere else."

Barry initially refused to apologize for the remarks, which came weeks after Barry made other comments deemed insensitive to the District's Asian community.

Confronted with a medical scare, though, Barry acknowledged that he was wrong.

"I stand corrected," Barry wrote on Twitter, the same platform he used to post photographs of himself in his hospital gown. "I truly didn't mean 2 hurt or offend."

Barry's apology came after he was admitted to Las Vegas' Summerlin Hospital Medical Center on Sunday after showing symptoms of a clot the lawmaker said developed during a flight delay in Tennessee. The hospital released him on Monday, Barry said, but the lawmaker will continue using blood thinners in the coming days. His hematologist also advised him to rest.

But Barry, in Nevada for an economic development convention, said he'd be joining his colleagues for the remainder of the conference -- including dinner at a high-end Asian restaurant on Monday night.SClBThe medical history of Barry, 76, is lengthy. In 2009, he had a kidney transplant, and he has acknowledged that he has diabetes and high blood pressure.

Barry noted his complicated history in an April interview with The Washington Examiner.

"The fact that I've been here 76 years is in itself almost a miracle," he said.

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