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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
Doctors confident of Ford recovery
former US President Gerald Ford
Doctors say Mr Ford will be released soon
Doctors treating the former US President Gerald Ford say they expect he will be released from hospital over the weekend or early next week.

On Thursday morning, Mr Ford reportedly walked a short distance with assistance, and was visited by Republican party presidential candidate George W Bush.

During a 20 minute visit, Mr Bush said that Mr Ford was in good spirits and had vowed to campaign for him in a couple of weeks.

He was also visited by three of his four children and spoke to former President George Bush on the phone. Doctors now describe his condition as 'fair'.

George W Bush
George Bush says Mr Ford was in good spirits
Mr Ford, 87, was admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital early on Wednesday for what was described as a sinus infection but was released a short time later.

Several hours later he was readmitted and taken into intensive care.

Stroke 'fairly minor'

Dr Robert Schwartzman, head of the hospital's neurology department, said that Mr Ford had suffered a small brain stem stroke which had affected his balance and speech.

Dr Robert Schwartzmann
Dr Schwartzmann: stroke was 'fairly minor'
On Thursday, Dr Schwartzman said that Mr Ford's earlier sinus problem had not been misdiagnosed, adding that the former president refused further treatment and made his own decision to leave hospital.

Doctors describe the stroke he suffered as "fairly minor", and believe he will make a full recovery without the need for rehabilitation therapy.

Only hours before being taken ill, Mr Ford had told a television interviewer than he could not be healthier and looked forward to living longer.

He also fielded a variety of political questions from callers.

Gerald Ford automatically became president in 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal.

He was seen as a steady hand on the tiller in a time of crisis, but lost the presidency to Jimmy Carter in 1976, becoming the only US president never to have been elected to office.

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