Ottawa Citizen

Ge­orge Bush Sr. to stay in hospi­tal

Bron­chi­tis trig­gered se­ries of com­pli­ca­tions


HOUS­TON • Former pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, who has been hos­pi­tal­ized for more than a month, is get­ting ex­cel­lent med­i­cal treat­ment and would ad­vise peo­ple to “put the harps back in the closet,” his long­time Hous­ton chief of staff said Thurs­day evening.

But Jean Becker also pointed out in her state­ment that the 88-yearold Bush is sick and likely will be in the hospi­tal for a while af­ter a “ter­ri­ble case of bron­chi­tis which then trig­gered a se­ries of com­pli­ca­tions.”

Bush, the old­est liv­ing former pres­i­dent, has been in in­ten­sive care since Sun­day. He was ad­mit­ted to Methodist Hospi­tal in Hous­ton on Nov. 23 for treat­ment of what his spokesman Jim McGrath de­scribed as a “stub­born” cough. He had spent about a week there ear­lier in Novem­ber for treat­ment of the same con­di­tion.

Becker said “most of the civ­i­lized world” con­tacted her Wed­nes­day af­ter dis­clo­sures Bush had been placed in the in­ten­sive care unit af­ter physi­cians were hav­ing dif­fi­culty bring­ing a fever un­der con­trol.

“Some­day Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush might re­al­ize how beloved he is, but of course one of the rea­sons why he is so beloved is be­cause he has no idea,” Becker said in the at-times light­hearted state­ment that made mul­ti­ple ref­er­ences to jokes and the former pres­i­dent’s sense of hu­mour.

She said up­dates about Bush’s con­di­tion have been lim­ited “out of re­spect for Pres­i­dent Bush and the Bush fam­ily who, like most of us, pre­fer to deal with health is­sues in pri­vacy.” She said an­other fac­tor was “be­cause he is so beloved we knew ev­ery­one would over­re­act.”

“I hope you all know how much your love, con­cern and sup­port are ap­pre­ci­ated,” Becker said.

While the pres­i­dent’s treat­ment was “un­equalled any­where,” she said prayers also were needed and wel­comed.

It was hoped Bush would be well enough to spend Christ­mas at home. But while his cough im­proved, he devel­oped a per­sis­tent fever and his con­di­tion was down­graded to “guarded.”

Bush and his wife, Bar­bara, live in Hous­ton dur­ing the win­ter and spend their sum­mers at a home in Ken­neb­unkport, Maine.

Bush, the 41st pres­i­dent, had served two terms as Ron­ald Rea­gan’s vi­cepres­i­dent when he was elected in 1988 to suc­ceed Rea­gan. Bush suf­fers from a form of Parkin­son’s disease that forced him in re­cent years to use a mo­tor­ized scooter or wheel­chair for mo­bil­ity.

 ?? BOB LEVEY/GETTY IM­AGES ?? ‘Most of the civ­i­lized world’ has in­quired about Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s health, his chief of staff joked Thurs­day.
BOB LEVEY/GETTY IM­AGES ‘Most of the civ­i­lized world’ has in­quired about Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s health, his chief of staff joked Thurs­day.

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