WASHINGTON -- Former White House Press Secretary James S. Brady was taken to a suburban Washington hospital yesterday morning after suffering cardiac arrest while receiving dental treatment.
He was listed in critical condition last night, but a hospital official said doctors were "very hopeful" that he would recover.
Mr. Brady gave his name to the nation's anti-gun crusade after he struggled to recover from devastating wounds inflicted during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
"We don't expect anything to change overnight," said Christine Tea, an administrative nursing supervisor at Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia.
She quoted Mr. Brady's wife, Sarah, as saying her husband had suffered no heart damage and she was hopeful he could be released in a few days.
According to a source, the former White House official lost 10 or 12 teeth when he fell while visiting New York about four weeks ago and was taken yesterday morning to an oral surgeon to repair some of the damage.
During that procedure, a doctor sedated Mr. Brady, causing his blood pressure to fall, the source said. When the doctor administered a drug to raise his blood pressure, Mr. Brady went into cardiac arrest, the source said.
Mr. Brady, who served as chief presidential spokesman during the Reagan administration, suffered brain damage, slurred speech and has been mostly confined to a wheelchair since his remarkable survival after being shot during the assassination attempt.