U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood has decided to forego treatment for lung cancer that has spread to his liver and will be returning to Georgia to receive hospice care, his office said Wednesday.
John Stone, a spokesman for the Augusta Republican, said an air ambulance flight was being arranged and that he expected Norwood to be leaving Washington either Wednesday night or Thursday.
Norwood, 65, suffers from a chronic lung disease, ideopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and received a lung transplant in 2004 at a hospital near the residence he maintains in suburban Washington.
Doctors there found a tumor on the non-transplanted lung and removed it in November, 2006. But late last year they found the cancer had spread to Norwood’s liver, Stone said.
Throughout his long illness and even after his transplant, Norwood continued to travel the halls of Congress, using an electric cart and toting his ever-present oxygen tank. But he has been absent throughout the current session of Congress, spending much of his time back in the hospital. President Bush acknowledged Norwood’s illness when he gave his State of the Union speech last month.
Stone said Norwood considered further treatment, but finally said, “No, you know what, it’s time to go home.”
This is a very sad story, but I heard on the News yesterday that he will not be giving up his seat. I hope this is incorrect, because that would be a disservice to his constituents. He should resign and allow the Governor of his state to appoint his replacement.
This is not a partisan issue for me, Democrat or Republican, if you cannot perform your duties, you have an obligation to step down.