Rutherford released from hospital after health scare

Chief of staff: NE Florida congressman had allergic reaction


WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Rutherford was released from the hospital late Saturday after an allergic reaction caused an "acute digestive flare up" that forced him to be carried from the U.S. Capitol on a stretcher, his chief of staff said.

The 64-year-old freshman congressman and former Jacksonville sheriff, elected to the 4th Congressional District last fall, collapsed just after 6 p.m. Jan. 11 while members of the House of Representatives were voting.

Rutherford's chief of staff, Kelly Simpson, quickly dispelled rumors of a heart attack and explained in a statement last week that doctors had diagnosed him with inflammation caused by an allergic reaction.

A statement from Simpson released Sunday said:

I am happy to report that Congressman John Rutherford was released from the hospital late yesterday and continues to recover at his DC residence. He looks forward to returning to the office sometime early this week and has been in communication with congressional leadership and colleagues throughout the last week in preparation for his return. He is especially grateful for the amazing outpouring of support from everyone back home and here in our nation's capital throughout this unfortunate episode. He would also like to thank the doctors and staff at the George Washington University Hospital for their outstanding service during his time there.”

According to multiple reports, Rutherford needed medical attention and paramedics were seen working on him in the Republican cloakroom.

Current Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Rutherford gave everyone quite a scare.

"I can tell you, having worked with him for many, many years, my advice to him would be to take a few minutes and eat a meal every now and then and quit trying to work so hard every single day," Williams said. "We were obviously all praying for him last night. And it worked out well. He's in good health and good shape, looking forward to him getting back and getting back to work."

The 64-year-old Republican worked in law enforcement for 41 years and served as sheriff in Jacksonville, Florida, before defeating Democrat David Bruderly in November to win the District 4 seat of retiring Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw.