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Breaking News

Reagan to Undergo Hip Surgery

Aired January 12, 2001 - 12:13 p.m. ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: The former President Ronald Reagan in the hospital, slated for hip surgery tomorrow in Santa Monica.

Our Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno by telephone now in Washington.

And Frank, you certainly know a lot about this man and his family and his past.

FRANK SESNO, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Bill, we've -- I've been talking with intimates and friends and associates of Ronald Reagan for quite some time. We're working on a project, for example, right now as part of the Reagan legacy. And that, among other things, keeps us in close touch.

What we're told is that the former president, because of his Alzheimer's, is virtually noncommunicative these days. He does remain ambulatory; here you see pictures, as you mentioned, a few moments ago from some years ago. And you can see the president way slower from, of course, his more active and vital days.

We are told, though, that he has been ambulatory this past summer. Mrs. Reagan installed a special ramp for the pool in the back. The president -- former president had a great deal of difficulty navigating that, and we're told that that was pretty well that for that kind of activity.

His health: relatively strong physically, we have been told. Although he does recognize Mrs. Reagan, we're told he really doesn't recognize anybody else, and she keeps him very much to himself, she looks after him. Except for a very brief foray this past summer, Bill, to the Republican National Convention, she hasn't left the state in over a year.

HEMMER: All right, Frank. Frank, standby there by telephone in Washington.

Want to bring back in our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with us tonight.

And based on what Frank was just saying, clearly it's been a matter of concern for sometime with his condition, certainly in his age, as well. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely; and mental health is a key part of the recovery from this kind of surgery because the surgery is not the only treatment. They do the surgery -- they use pins or plates to put those bones back together and then afterwards the patients need to do extensive work with physical therapists. The patient's mental condition is really crucial. They need to be able to work with that physical therapist, understand what it is that they're trying to do.

HEMMER: Elizabeth Cohen, standby here, OK; we'll certainly come back to you just a bit later.

Right now, though, want to take a quick time-out. More on the condition of President Ronald Reagan when we come back. Stay with us; back with more after this.

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