Ex-president George H.W. Bush had good night's rest, remains in ICU

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 10:53 AM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush remains in stable condition with pneumonia in the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital and his wife, Barbara Bush, is making progress for treatment of bronchitis at the same hospital, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement that Bush's doctors were determining whether his breathing tube can be removed and that he had a good night's rest.

"We are hopeful he will be discharged from the ICU in a few days," McGrath said.

George Bush, who at 92 is the nation's oldest living ex-president, has been at Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, McGrath has said.

Barbara Bush, 91, was admitted to the same hospital on Wednesday as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing, McGrath said.

"After being admitted yesterday and diagnosed with a case of bronchitis, Mrs. Bush reports she feels 1,000 percent better this morning," McGrath said in his Thursday statement.

"Antibiotics and some good rest seem to have restored her to better health."

The former president also authorized a tweet sent from his Twitter account on Thursday congratulating former Houston Astros player Jeff Bagwell for his selection into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, McGrath said.

The Bushes marked their 72nd wedding anniversary on Jan. 6. Prior to being hospitalized, they had said they would not attend the inauguration of Republican Donald Trump as president on Friday due to health concerns.

In a letter to the president-elect, Bush said he and his wife would be with Trump in spirit at the inauguration and wished him the best.

Bush, a Republican, did not endorse Trump in his race against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump tweeted a get-well message to the Bushes and outgoing President Barack Obama praised them as constant source of friendship and counsel.

The Bushes are the parents of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The eldest Bush was vice president during Ronald Reagan's two White House terms before being elected president in 1988. He lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton four years later.

Bush has used a wheelchair in recent years and was hospitalized twice in 2014, once for seven weeks with pneumonia and again for breathing difficulties. In July 2015, he broke a bone in his neck in a fall at the family home in Maine.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott and Diane Craft)