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Breaking News

Former President Ford Suffers Small Strokes

Aired August 2, 2000 - 12:28 p.m. ET

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

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Former President Gerald Ford, here in Philadelphia for the Republican convention, is in the hospital. He has suffered a small stroke. Doctors say he has some slurring of speech. There is also some problems with his left arm and his balance. His wife Betty Ford is said to be at the hospital, very upset but fine.

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: And doctors are also saying that, mentally, the former president is in perfect condition, that he's thinking clearly, and the manifestations of this small stroke are physical in nature.

Pat Neal now outside the hospital with the latest -- Pat.

PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Frank and Jeanne, as you said, that the former vice president suffered not one but possibly two strokes, They believe he had one this morning. They believe he had one a couple days ago. They do believe it was a problem with the circulation at the base of his brain. They said that he was having some slurry speech and that he was having some trouble with his balance.

Here is his doctor, Dr. Robert Schwartzman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT SCHWARTZMAN, HAHNEMANN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: President Ford has had a small stroke. It's in the circulation at the base of the brain. He's doing well. He has a little trouble with his balance and presently is being studied for the cause of this stroke.

QUESTION: What's been the effect of the stroke, sir?

SCHWARTZMAN: He's having a little bit of trouble with his balance at the moment.

QUESTION: Any impact on his limbs?

SCHWARTZMAN: There's a little bit of weakness in the left arm. His thinking's perfect. No problem with that.

QUESTION: How long do you expect him to be in the hospital?

SCHWARTZMAN: Probably be in the hospital five or six days. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NEAL: Well, one thing that you may know is that the former vice president came in here last night about 1:30 in the morning complaining of an ear infection. He was treated for an ear infection here, and then he left. And he returned today at 9:00.

But one of the questions people wanted to know from the doctor is why didn't they detect this last night. And Dr. Schwartzman told us that oftentimes with a case of an ear infection, which often can cause balance issues too, that sometimes they're easily to be misdiagnosed and they can't exactly tell the first time when they see someone about the balance issue.

But for now, he is -- the prognosis is well for the former vice -- for the former president. They expect him to be on medication for some time but they expect him to completely recover. They say there has been no brain damage and that he has a little bit of slurred speech now, but that should be corrected soon.

Now, one thing you might want to know, too, is that the former president an his wife, Betty Ford, were planning on leaving Philadelphia today after being here for the Republican National Convention, and going back to Colorado where they have a summer home. But, as you said, the doctors say he will be here about five or six more days -- Frank and Jeanne.

SESNO: Pat, thanks very much. And of course we'll follow this story throughout the day, and as developments become available. I think it's no exaggeration to say that this hall will be very filled with people wishing the vice president a speedy and full recovery, and no exception to those of us here at CNN. We're hoping for the best.

MESERVE: Right, the convention continues, and so does our coverage right now to "BURDEN OF PROOF."

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