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Betty Ford Walking, Feeling Well After Heart Surgery

January 2, 1988

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) _ Former first lady Betty Ford was back on her feet and feeling well as she continued to mend from surgery earlier this week, her doctor reported.

″This morning she is walking and feels very well,″ Dr. Jack Sternlieb, cardiac chief for Eisenhower Medical Center, said in a statement released by the hospital Friday.

Hospital officials said Mrs. Ford would be allowed to return home as early as this weekend. But the surgery to repair sutures from a previous operation forced her and former President Ford to cancel plans to join a gala opening of the Bob Hope Cultural Center in Palm Springs today.

The Fords celebrated New Year’s Eve Thursday at the hospital with their daughter Susan, and were joined by the nursing staff in ringing in the new year with a sparkling cider toast, Sternlieb said.

Mrs. Ford had entered the hospital Tuesday after feeling weak and suffering bleeding from sutures left after coronary bypass surgery in November. Sternlieb performed additional surgery Wednesday night to reclose slow-healing incisions left from the earlier surgery, which he had also performed.

During the November surgery, Sternlieb said, he cut through scar tissue from Mrs. Ford’s 1974 mastectomy, and when he sutured the area closed, the scar tissue didn’t heal properly.

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