Painful cough keeps George H.W. Bush hospitalized
HOUSTON — Former President George H.W. Bush remains Monday in a Houston hospital, where he is being treated for a painful, lingering bronchitis-related cough, and there is no timeline for his release, his spokesman said.
Initially, aides had said the 88-year-old 41st president would be released from the hospital over the weekend. But he has a “nagging cough” and “we don't have any idea when he'll be released,” said Methodist Hospital spokesman George Kovacik.
“They're not in any hurry, so they're just keeping him here, but there's really no change in his condition,” Kovacik said. “He's stable and he's still here.”
Bush has been in and out of the hospital for treatment of the cough since last month. The former president also has a form of Parkinson's disease that forces him to use a wheelchair or motorized scooter.
The ex-president and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston during the winter, and spend their summers in a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Bush's condition has improved in recent days, his spokesman in Houston, Jim McGrath, said, and he has been receiving visitors. While he has not been diagnosed with pneumonia, which can be dangerous in elderly people, and the cough is not life-threatening, the doctors and Bush himself prefer to wait until the cough goes away before sending him home.
“I was with him yesterday. He had a great day yesterday. He had a good night's sleep the night before, importantly, and his breathing was so much better. But he still has this cough, and when he coughs, it hurts,” McGrath said. “The doctors don't really want to let him go until he's 100 percent.”
Bush's wife, Barbara, has been by his side nearly nonstop, McGrath said. Previously, ex-President George W. Bush visited.
More recently, his son, Neil Bush, and his wife, Maria, who live in Houston, have been frequent visitors, along with their son, Bush's grandson, Pierce Bush, he added. On Sunday, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and his wife, Susan, also stopped by.
The highlight of the day, though, was the Houston Texans' 24-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans, a win that secured the Texans a spot in the NFL playoffs. Just a few weeks ago, Bush was spotted at a Texans' game.
“He was keeping track of when kickoff was and we were following the game there for a little bit,” McGrath said.
In general, McGrath said, the former president's spirits are good.
“He's joking with the doctors and the nurses so he's not nearly in the same level of discomfort he was in just a few days ago,” McGrath said.
Still, since he was released previously and then readmitted because the cough did not go away, there is a sense he should stay put until the cough disappears entirely, he added.
“A little bit is an abundance of caution, but a lot of it has to do with he still has the cough,” McGrath said.
The former president was a naval aviator in World War II — at one point the youngest in the Navy — and was shot down over the Pacific. He achieved notoriety in retirement for skydiving on at least three of his birthdays since leaving the White House in 1992.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mental health facility won’t take Franklin Regional stabbing suspect as patient
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Steelers are vowing to fix the costly penalties, lack of self-discipline
- Body found in Allegheny River near Clemente Bridge
- Gunfire plagues New Kensington
- Mercer’s improved defense at shortstop gives Pirates a boost
- At least $100,000 in appliances stolen from new homes around Western Pa.
- 20 improbable Pirates wins in 2014
- Corbett: Downtown project will ‘make a huge difference’ in Pittsburgh
- Healthy again, Penguins’ Dupuis eager for game action
- Latest loss has Panthers looking for answers