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Greg LaMotte: Reagan injury common among elderly

Greg LaMotte  

CNN Correspondent Greg LaMotte is in Santa Monica, keeping tabs on former President Reagan's condition.

Q: How serious is Reagan's injury?

A: He broke his right hip after a light fall in his home in Bel Air, California, near Beverly Hills. He was rushed to the hospital with his wife, Nancy. He is said to be in good spirits, his condition stable, and he was alert. The last we were told by the hospital ... is that he was resting comfortably. Today he will undergo surgery to have a metal pin inserted in his fractured right hip.

Q: How common is this type of injury for someone of Reagan's age?

A: It's very common. Their bones become brittle as they get older, and even the slightest fall can break the hips of older folks.

Q: What's the scene like at the hospital?

A: The information given out so far has been minimal. Hospital staff said they would not be holding press conferences, and any information would have to come from the Reagan family's spokeswoman.


The irony of all of it is the fact that here is his daughter, Maureen, who's fighting for her life, battling cancer, here in the same hospital.

Maureen has made no public statements. She's been in the hospital since the 11th of December.

The scene actually is pretty calm, given the fact that this is a former president.

Q: How did Reagan get the nickname "Dutch"?

A: His nickname of "Dutch" came from his father. When (Reagan) was born, his father thought he looked like a fat Dutchman, so he called him "Dutch."

Q: How extensive was Reagan's career as a screen actor?

A: He starred in over 50 films in Hollywood, mostly for Warner Brothers. He's certainly known for playing a role in the Knute Rockne film. George Gipp, I believe, was the character.

Q: What are some of the other things that Reagan is remembered for?

A: He was twice named Time magazine's Man of the Year: Once in 1980, then again in 1983 with then Soviet President Yuri Andropov.

He was the first president to have appointed a woman to the U.S. Supreme Court; that was Sandra Day O'Connor.

He also served as governor of California from 1966 to 1974. He twice ran for the Republican nomination for president, once in 1968 and then again in 1976, losing both times, before he won the nomination in 1980.

In the late 1950s, that being the anti-Communist period in Hollywood, Reagan was involved in some groups that had Communist leanings, although he didn't know it at the time. He later became an FBI informant, where he named names. He also testified before the House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1957, where he did not name names.

He was also the only president to be elected who was a member of a labor union. (Reagan was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and served as the union's president.)

Q: How difficult will it be for Reagan to recover from his injury?

A: The thing that's going to make things difficult in rehab is the Alzheimer's. It's hellacious trying to rehab someone who has Alzheimer's.

He hasn't been seen in public in the last five years and he no longer goes to his Century City offices, where he had spent many years.

In March 2000, Reagan's condition was reported to be getting worse, that he was unable to conduct a coherent conversation. So a year later, he's (likely to be) even worse.

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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

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