Rep. Dingell out of hospital, posts ‘Thumbs Up’ sign

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Retiring U.S. Rep. John Dingell was released from George Washington University Hospital Tuesday after an 18-day stay following a broken hip.

His office confirmed he was being discharged after Dingell tweeted a photo of an elevator button. “There are few words to describe just how good it felt to push this button just now,” he wrote on Twitter. He posted a photo on Facebook with a “thumbs up” sign.

“Well, I’m finally out of here. My sincere thanks to George Washington University Hospital for their wonderful care, and to you ALL for your thoughts and prayers,” he wrote.

Dingell suffered a hairline hip fracture from a fall this month. He initially had a rough stint in the hospital after being admitted on Dec. 12 and spent time in the intensive care unit before making significant progress and undergoing rehabilitation. He will continue to have physical therapy. It’s not clear when he will return home to Michigan.

The Dearborn Democrat, 88, is the longest-serving member of Congress in history. He is retiring after 59 years from the House, where he cast more than 25,000 votes. His wife, Debbie Dingell, won the election in November to succeed him.

John Dingell has had several health issues this year. He has had difficulty standing at times and has largely gotten around the U.S. Capitol on a motorized scooter. He did get to his feet unassisted last month to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

In March, he underwent surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit to correct the source of an abnormal heart rhythm. Dingell’s office said he developed atrial fibrillation, and had the procedure to correct it.

In September, he was admitted again to Henry Ford Hospital for an infection. He was released after four days.

Debbie Dingell, a health care advocate, vows to make the issue a cause when she takes office next month.

“The best gift of the holiday season has arrived! John has been released from George Washington Hospital in the best shape he’s been in these past months! We want to thank the doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, food servers and everyone who helped him during his stay as well as the many others who have helped during the holidays,” she said in a Facebook statement.

“Now that he’s out of the hospital we have a plan for continued physical therapy to rebuild his strength and complete his recovery so he can head home to Michigan, which he is exceedingly anxious to do.”