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Betty Ford Undergoes Surgery After Suffering a Weak Spell

United Press International

Former First Lady Betty Ford underwent surgery Wednesday night, 24 hours after being admitted to the hospital following a weak spell she suffered while having dinner with her husband, an aide to former President Gerald Ford said.

Bob Barrett, Ford’s aide, said said Mrs. Ford, 69, went into surgery at Eisenhower Medical Center at 8 p.m.

The hospital said, “We have no new statement on Mrs. Ford at this time.”

The former First Lady reportedly “felt quite well” and was able to sit up in her hospital bed earlier Wednesday when she was listed in stable condition in the cardiac-care unit, hospital spokesman Michael McFadden said. Mrs. Ford, who underwent open-heart surgery last month, arrived at the hospital with President Ford about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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“Mrs. Ford experienced a sudden weakness just after dinner last evening,” said Kathy Dailey, a spokeswoman for the Fords. Dailey said doctors recommended that Mrs. Ford check into the hospital for observation and treatment.

White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said President and Mrs. Reagan learned about Mrs. Ford’s hospitalization Wednesday morning.

Mrs. Ford underwent a six-hour open-heart operation by cardiac specialist Jack Sternlieb and a team of nine other physicians at Eisenhower Medical Center on Nov. 20 to clear four clogged arteries.

She returned to her Rancho Mirage home Nov. 30 and was reported in good condition. Her recovery was expected to take several more weeks.

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