New details on Sen. Ford's sickness - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

New details on Sen. Ford's sickness

The patience of some of constituents grows short as Ophelia Ford's hospital stay lengthens.

"If she's going to do a job, she should show up for work," said one voter.

"So she's able to vote on the issues that need to be voted on," added another.

However, it appears Ford's chair in the Tennessee Senate chamber may remain empty indefinitely.  A letter sent Wednesday by Methodist Healthcare to Senator Jim Kyle reads, in part, that "she has a medical condition causing malnutrition, dehydration and anemia, and at this time, requires continued hospitalization."

"We should be prayerful for her condition and her family and be sensitive to those things," said Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Keith Norman.

"I think it's very important that we not politicize the issue of Ophelia's health," Norman adds.

Norman believes it's still too soon to talk about replacing Ford.  He's happy a recent effort to temporarily fill her seat failed to get anywhere.  However, Norman admits, party officials continue to discuss the possibilities as Ford seeks treatment.

"We have no imminent reason to believe this is going to require our immediate action, but we are in conversation with the family and elected leaders in Nashville to make sure we're postured should such a thing take place," said Norman.

Plans include having a pool of potential replacements prepared to step in.

Some of Ford's colleagues remain ready to get that ball rolling.  Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Haynes released a new statement, saying quote "we have reached the point at which we and the people of District 29 need more information about her condition and about when we can reasonably expect her to return to the Senate."

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