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Doctors Say Former President Ford in Good Condition After Two Suspected Strokes

Aired August 2, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, tonight is the night Republicans will nominate George W. Bush as their presidential candidate. But that is being overshadowed right now by news about former President Gerald Ford, who was honored at the convention just last night is in a Philadelphia hospital after having at least one stroke.

CNN's Pat Neal is standing by with the latest for us -- Pat.

PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The doctors say that former President Gerald Ford is doing very well. He is in very good condition right now after suffering two small strokes at the base of his brain. President Ford and his wife, Betty, walked into Hahnemann University Hospital in downtown Philadelphia this morning about 9:00 a.m. Doctors say he was complaining about having problems with balance, and that he had some slurred speech.

Doctors say he had some weakness in his left arm, but he has all other normal functions.

DR. ROBERT SCHWARTZMAN, HAHNEMANN: I think he's probably had a stroke maybe two days ago and had another little one.

QUESTION: And had another one today?

SCHWARTZMAN: Probably, yes.

QUESTION: Why didn't you catch it earlier?

SCHWARTZMAN: Well, it looks like an inner ear infection sometimes. And sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference. And he may be a little worse now than he was before, so that's understandable.

QUESTION: What's his prognosis?

SCHWARTZMAN: Good.

QUESTION: You think he will do fine?

SCHWARTZMAN: I think he will do very well.

NEAL: Ford was honored last night at the Republican National Convention after he and wife Betty -- after that, excuse me, he and his wife, Betty, came to this same hospital about 1:30 in the morning. He was complaining about an ear infection and an ear ache. He was treated with antibiotics and he was released about an hour later. As for the slurred speech, Doctors say that they expect that to go away, and that he would probably in the hospital for five or six days -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Pat, how long were the Fords planning to stay here in Philadelphia before this happened?

NEAL: Well, the Fords, as you know, came for the Republican National Convention and for that tribute to him the other night. A close friend of the Fords told me just a little while ago that they were actually planning on flying back to Colorado, where they have a summer home, about 12:15 today. But obviously, he is not doing that now. He'll be in the hospital for about five or six days. And he also said -- his friend said that he visited -- excuse me -- he visited with the former president yesterday in his suite, and that they had a nice visit, and that, actually, Dick Cheney stopped by to see him then -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Pat Neal outside the hospital.

Republicans in this city are offering their prayers to President Ford for a speedy recovery. George W. Bush has been trying to get through to the hospital to speak with the Fords.

And former President George Bush and wife, Barbara, issued this statement. And we quote: "Barbara and I are hoping and praying for the quickest possible recovery of President Gerald R. Ford. It was a joy to sit next to him at the convention last night. Once again, we were reminded of his decency and of all he did at our crucial time -- at a crucial time in our nation's history. Barbara and I, along with the entire Bush family, send our love and our hopes for a speedy recovery" -- that from former President Bush.

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