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Special Event

Hahnemann University Hospital Doctors Hold News Conference on Fmr. Pres. Gerald Ford's Medical Condition

Aired August 4, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET

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

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you over to the hospital where former President Gerald Ford has been since suffering a small stroke earlier, a news conference now under way.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... field the questions. And then if it's medically related, we'll give it to the doctors. I would like to at the conclusion today have a brief discussion after we've concluded this about our procedure on briefings for the balance of the time -- the president's visit.

So we'll take the first question.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The doctors can answer that question.

DR. ROBERT SCHWARTZMAN, HAHNEMANN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: I am pleased to report that neurologically the president has made excellent progress. He's almost back to normal. He's reading the newspaper and he's walking.

QUESTION: You say "almost." What's not quite normal yet?

SCHWARTZMAN: We're still working with the tongue problem that's under evaluation at the moment.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) what is caused his swollen tongue?

SCHWARTZMAN: As we stated yesterday, it could be traumatic, it could be infectious or it could be a malignancy, a tumor.

QUESTION: And how was his speech today?

SCHWARTZMAN: His speech has improved.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how he's doing on the medication. You said yesterday something, he was being put on blood-thinning drugs.

DR. CAROLE THOMAS, HAHNEMANN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: He's tolerating that fine. He's on the blood thinner. He's had no complications. One of the complications of a blood thinner is bleeding, and we've not seen any signs of that. He's been very stable. And that's to prevent a further stroke.

QUESTION: What was the name of that drug?

THOMAS: He's on heparin currently, which is the intravenous form, and will eventually will be on Coumadin, which is the pill form.

QUESTION: And when would you expect he could leave and fly home to Colorado?

SCHWARTZMAN: Well, this really depends on what happens with his tongue evaluation. Neurologically he's doing extremely well. And we would feel that probably next Wednesday or so, if it's just limited to a neurological problem, as we stated, he's doing extremely well with that. But it really depends on what's happening with his tongue evaluation.

SESNO: And so we're hearing from some of the doctors who are attending to former President Gerald Ford at the hospital not far from where this convention took place. As you know, he suffered one, maybe two small strokes earlier. They are saying that he is now walking, reading the newspaper. But now the attention is turning toward the swollen tongue the former president has complained about. Doctors there saying this could be an infection, it could be a malignancy, it could be traumatic, and they're continuing to evaluate that. That more than the neurological issues right now determining what's next in the treatment of former President Gerald Ford.

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