Long lost brothers check into same hospital
Friday, January 2, 2004 Posted: 1647 GMT (12:47 AM HKT)

George Ipser, left, 73, and his brother, Joseph, 82, are reunited at Louis Stokes VA Medical Center on Wednesday in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- Two brothers who hadn't seen each other in more than 20 years were reunited on New Year's Eve -- at a hospital.

Joe and George Ipser grew up in Cleveland. Joe joined the Army and fought in World War II. George, nine years younger, served in the Korean War.

Each brother married, had children and earned a living driving trucks. Joe moved to Tennessee, George to Las Vegas.

As time passed, they lost track of each other. There was no falling out; they say they just drifted apart.

In the 1990s, Joe moved back to Cleveland, settling in the same neighborhood where he grew up. George returned to Cleveland in 2002.

The brothers' lives could have intersected at any time.

They had their hair cut by the same barber. They sought medical treatment at the same clinic. And George listed his name and number in the phone book.

Then on Wednesday, George arrived at Louis Stokes VA Medical Center about 12:45 p.m. His back was killing him and he was worried about his kidneys.

Joe checked in about a half-hour later. His heart was beating too fast and he felt woozy.

The brothers lay three beds apart in a 12-bed acute-care ward.

Once staff members figured out the men must be brothers, they gently approached each about the other. The Ipsers said they hadn't seen each other in decades, but they would like to meet again.

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