Image: Bob Dole
Mark Wilson  /  Getty Images
Former Sen. Bob Dole visits the new World War II Memorial April 27, 2004 in Washington.
updated 7/13/2009 1:14:36 PM ET 2009-07-13T17:14:36

Doctors performed a skin graft on former Sen. Bob Dole's left leg early Monday after discovering open sores on it when he sought emergency medical care.

The skin graft took about 40 minutes, said Dole spokesman Mike Marshall.

"All is well. He is recovering nicely," Marshall said in an e-mail.

Dole has been hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for a couple of weeks. He had sought medical treatment after experiencing a sharply elevated heart beat during the night two weeks ago.

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Doctors determined his heart was fine, but were concerned about open sores on his legs. They performed some immediate procedures on his left leg and scheduled the skin graft.

Dole has said the ordeal has been painful, but he hopes to be out of the hospital by his 86th birthday on July 22.

A military veteran, Dole was severely wounded in World War II. He permanently lost most use of his right arm.

He was a Republican vice presidential candidate in 1976, a presidential candidate in 1988, and the GOP presidential nominee in 1996. He was elected to the House in 1960.

He served in the U.S. House and in the Senate, rising to become its majority leader in 1986. He was one of GOP's most influential leaders.

Dole is now a lobbyist and special counsel in the law firm of Alston and Bird.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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