Former President Carter Enters Hospital For Brain Surgery

Nov 12, 2019
Originally published on November 12, 2019 7:35 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Former President Jimmy Carter undergoes surgery this morning to ease swelling on his brain. He is 95 years old and was admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. WABE reporter Emil Moffatt is covering this story, and he's on the line. Can you tell us, as best you know, what caused the swelling?

EMIL MOFFATT, BYLINE: What the Carter Center has said, Steve, is that this swelling and the bleeding in his brain was caused by a couple of recent falls. He fell most recently on October 21. He suffered a slight fracture of his pelvis in that fall. And then he also fell in early October, and you may have seen the photos of him with a black eye...

INSKEEP: Yeah.

MOFFATT: ...And a cut above his eye as he was working at a Habitat house, despite that injury. So he's fallen a couple of times. He was admitted last night, and the procedure is scheduled for this morning.

INSKEEP: I'm glad you mentioned the Habitat house. People who don't know should know that the former president's worked for decades for Habitat for Humanity, goes out and personally helps to build houses and was out there, as I recall, working with a hammer and nails, even after this fall. He's amazingly resilient. Hasn't he even recovered - like, recovered from cancer over the years, among other things?

MOFFATT: He has. That - four or five years ago that he had a cancer diagnosis. He announced just a few weeks ago that he was cancer-free, and he was looking forward to continuing his work. He does walk with a cane. He's 95 years old, and he's had these couple of falls, but his spirit continues to be just a hardworking spirit, and he does a lot of programs and speaks a lot at his Carter Center here in Atlanta.

INSKEEP: Now, when we say swelling on the brain, I mean, that sounds quite serious. Do you have an indication of how serious it is, whether the former president is conscious, is able to communicate - any idea?

MOFFATT: We were - all we were told last night by the Carter Center was that he was resting comfortably, his wife Rosalynn was by his side and that the procedure was scheduled for this morning. But of course, at age 95, anything that involves the brain or a procedure is going to be met with a lot of caution and serious note. So I think it's something that everybody is watching closely, especially considering his age.

INSKEEP: You know, people marvel at the former president - whatever they thought of his politics long ago, marvel at his resilience and activity now. What do people think there in Atlanta when Jimmy Carter is back in the news in this way?

MOFFATT: It's concerning just because of the force that he's been in the philanthropic community throughout the years and with his work with the Carter Center and with Habitat for Humanity. And he's still teaching his Sunday school class every other week in his hometown of Plains, Ga. People love going out and hearing him speak. So he's continued to be a force post-presidency for a long time here in Atlanta.

INSKEEP: Well, Emil, we will listen closely for your updates. Thank you very much.

MOFFATT: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: Emil Moffatt is a reporter for WABE in Atlanta, bringing us the latest on former President Jimmy Carter, who undergoes surgery today to ease swelling on his brain. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.