Successful surgery for oldest congressman after crash

Rep. Ralph Hall, 91, joked after losing a Republican primary, then again after getting hurt in a car wreck.

Story highlights

  • Outgoing congressman Ralph Hall, 91, is the oldest sitting member of Congress
  • He had surgery to repair damage to his hip
  • He is expected to make a full recovery
Congressman Ralph Hall underwent surgery to repair damage to his hip after a car accident, his office said Sunday.
Hall, a Texas Republican and the oldest sitting member of Congress, was airlifted to the hospital Saturday following the accident.
Doctors at the Medical Center at Plano said the surgery was successful and that the 91-year-old is expected to make a full recovery.
The congressman is in good spirits, his office said. No surprise, given that he apparently took being airlifted in stride, joking with paramedics on the way.
Hall was being driven by his friend, 73-year-old Howard Zielke, when someone collided with their vehicle Saturday afternoon in Fannin County, Texas, the state Department of Public Safety reported.
The other car's driver didn't need to go to a hospital, while Zielke was transported to a hospital in McKinney, the state agency said. Hall, though, was flown to The Medical Center of Plano with what the public safety department described as "serious injuries."
The idea that Hall might find humor in an otherwise bad situation, perhaps, shouldn't be too surprising.
Shortly after losing a Republican primary this spring to tea party-backed candidate John Ratcliffe, thus spelling an end to his 32-year stay in Congress, Hall cracked: "I figured it out -- damn guy got more votes than I did!"
He pointed out, too, that he couldn't get unemployment yet since he has "a job here until December 31st."
"At 91 years old a contract for six months -- you can't beat it," he said then, referring to the rest of his term in the House.