- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2005

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Doctors upgraded the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s condition from critical to stable yesterday and removed him from a ventilator.

Mr. Falwell, 71, has fluid in his lungs and doctors say he suffers from congestive heart failure, although a cardiologist, Dr. Carl Moore, said testing showed “his heart is strong” and he had not suffered a heart attack.

Ron Godwin, Mr. Falwell’s executive assistant, said Tuesday that the Moral Majority founder had suffered a recurrence of the viral pneumonia he had suffered from weeks earlier. But doctors said yesterday Mr. Falwell did not have pneumonia.

Mr. Falwell received a phone call from President Bush, who wished him well, a spokesman for Lynchburg General Hospital said. Details of the phone call were not released.

Mr. Godwin visited with his boss and said he was talking to friends and family.

“He’s very stable,” he said. “His vitals are steady and strong.”

Mr. Falwell was admitted Monday to Lynchburg General in “respiratory arrest.” Family members told Dr. Moore that Mr. Falwell had been unconscious for five to seven minutes and had to be resuscitated by emergency medical technicians at the hospital emergency room.

Dr. Moore said there is no evidence of neurological damage.

Mr. Falwell founded the Moral Majority in 1979 and became the face of the religious right as his political lobbying organization grew to 6.5 million members and raised millions for conservative politicians.

This is the second hospitalization this year for Mr. Falwell, the founder of Liberty University. He had left the hospital March 4 after 13 days, spending part of the time on a ventilator for what was called a viral infection.

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