Jones undergoes surgery on hip


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

GREENVILLE — Congressman Walter B. Jones underwent successful hip surgery on Tuesday, a day after falling at his home and breaking his hip, Jones’ office confirmed Wednesday.

The Farmville Republican’s Washington D.C. office confirmed the injury and the operation in a three-sentence statement about 13 hours after Tom Lamprecht, co-host of the “Tom and Sadie” radio program, discussed congressman’s injury on his show and in a statement released on Tuesday night.

The release from Jones’ office said, “Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) sustained a broken hip at his home on Monday. He underwent successful surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville on Tuesday. The congressman has started the rehabilitation process and is grateful to all involved for the care he’s received.”

Jones’ chief of staff, Joshua Bowlen, said no additional information about the congressman’s condition is available.

Orthopedic specialists said physical therapy and other rehabilitation work after hip surgery could take between two and three months. Barring complications the congressman should recover his mobility.

“The key is just being motivated to work hard. Getting up and making sure you’re fighting,” said Dr. Josiah Duke, president of Orthopedics East and a board certified orthopedic surgeon who has been in practice nearly 20 years.

“I don’t think it’s that painful if (the surgery) is done correctly,” Duke said. “It can be sore, can be stiff or it can be weak but I don’t think it’s severe pain. If hip surgery done correctly is can be quite comfortable. It just takes time.”

The Herald-Sun of Durham reported last month that Jones, 75, was granted a leave of absence on Dec. 11 for the rest of 2018. At that time of the report, Jones had missed nearly 30 roll call votes.

Jones was absent when Congress convened on Jan. 3 for members to take the oath of office. Jones’ Bowlen said at the time the congressman was continuing to deal with a health issue and offered no further details.

Jones was sworn in at his Farmville home by U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield the next day.

According to Lamprecht’s statements, people close to Jones said he “ has been battling a neurological condition in recent months.”

Lamprecht also said, “Obviously any decision concerning resignation is ultimately up Congressman Jones. However, it does appear to be a question which the Jones camp will have to address.”

Carl Mischka, chairman of the Republican Party of the 3rd Congressional District, said conversations about Jones stepping down are premature. He said the late John McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, did not resign even though he missed nearly a year of votes after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

“At this point there is nothing that can be done but wish him well and pray,” Mischka said.

“I feel the congressman deserves some privacy and some good wishes and let’s see how far that takes us,” he said.

Jones announced during his 2018 re-election bid that he would retire in 2020.

Earlier this week two men announced their intentions to run for the Republican Party nomination when Jones retires.

Two-time Jones challenger Phil Law announced his candidacy at the Onslow County GOP Executive Committee meeting in Jacksonville.

A Marine Corps combat veteran and Onslow County businessman, Law said he is focused on the need to combat illegal immigration, address the growing federal debt and the need for health care reform.

Paul Wright, an executive sous chef from Kitty Hawk who was elected last November to the Dare County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors, said he wants to focus on prison reform and combating drug and alcohol abuse.

Wright has four criminal convictions, the latest coming from his arrest for calling in a false bomb threat to the Dare County Courthouse in 2012.

Wright said once he committed his life to God he gained the strength to change and wants to use his life experience to help others.