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Falwell taken off ventilator; doctors upgrade condition

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)–Jerry Falwell was taken off a ventilator March 30 and his status was upgraded to serious but stable condition, hospital officials said in a statement. The day before, Falwell’s status was listed as critical.

Falwell, 71, was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital late March 28 after having difficulty breathing. Hospital officials now say that swelling and fluid in his lungs caused his problem. They found no evidence of a heart attack. He was admitted to the hospital because of “respiratory arrest,” the statement read.

“He’s very stable,” Falwell assistant Ron Godwin said, according to the Associated Press. “His vitals are steady and strong.”

President Bush called Falwell to wish him well, the AP reported.

Falwell also was in the hospital for nearly two weeks in late February and early March, battling pneumonia. Doctors March 30 said that Falwell’s latest condition seems to be unrelated to the earlier bout with pneumonia.

“Family members expressed their thanks for the outpouring of prayers and good wishes they have received,” a hospital statement read.

Falwell serves as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Lynchburg, and as chancellor of Liberty University.

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