DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad acknowledged he made an error in judgment after going to work sick and having to be taken by ambulance to the hospital after falling ill at an event last Monday.
“I’ve learned my lesson,” Branstad said Monday morning, his first day back after a week off to recover from flu-like symptoms and a cold that has plagued him for a month.
Branstad started slurring his words and eventually stopped mid-speech at the event in Johnston last Monday. A state trooper on his protective detail, lawmakers in the audience and a nurse helped the governor lay on the floor until an ambulance arrived, so he could get medical attention.
His office later said the governor was severely dehydrated from being sick. Branstad said his wife, Chris, had warned him not to go to work that day, since he had been ill the previous weekend. “I should have listened to my wife,” Branstad said, “I should not have gone to work on Monday.”
Branstad keeps a vigorous schedule, often with multiple daily events, which can put him in contact with hundreds of Iowans. The governor explained why he thought he could maintain that schedule last week, even though he hadn’t been well. “I had been sick over the weekend. And I got a lot of rest,” Branstad said, “And so I thought, ‘I’m better.’ I’m a workaholic. I like to work. I don’t like to miss. Once I made a commitment, I like to find a way to get there, even if there’s a snowstorm or whatever. But I also think you need to use some common sense.”
The governor said he received a flu shot last Fall.
Health experts have cautioned about going to work or school when sick, since that can spread germs. The Iowa Department of Public Health said on its website: “Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill.”