Washington Former GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole remained hospitalized Friday following leg surgery performed after he initially sought medical treatment for heart problems.
The former Senate majority leader has been at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington since last week when he experienced a “sharply” elevated heart rate in the middle of the night, a statement from his law firm Alston and Bird said Friday.
Doctors determined the 85-year-old Dole’s heart is fine, but surgeons performed several procedures on his left leg that had open sores. Dole’s legs are healing properly and a skin graft is planned for Monday if Dole’s progress continues at its current pace, according to the law firm’s statement.
The medical attention “has been painful, but I think I will be fine,” Dole said in the statement.
“I am recovering nicely thanks to the great doctors, nurses and staff at Walter Reed. I have been coming to Walter Reed for over 40 years and I hope to be out by my birthday, July 22,” Dole said in a statement.
Aside from serving as Senate majority leader, Dole was a vice presidential candidate in 1976, a presidential candidate in 1988, and the GOP presidential nominee in 1996. He was elected to the House in 1960.
The Kansas native was one of the most influential party leaders in the Senate, moving into the leadership ranks after Republicans took control of the Senate in the 1980s. He became Senate majority leader in 1986 but Republicans lost the majority two years later.
Dole served in the Army and was severely wounded in World War II. He permanently lost most use of his right arm.
He is married to Elizabeth Hanford Dole, who also served in the Senate in a seat from North Carolina until losing re-election last year.