Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who is being treated at a Texas hospital, has been admitted to the intensive care unit after he suffered an acute respiratory problem, officials say. His wife, Barbara Bush, has also been hospitalized.
Bush Sr. was taken to Houston Methodist Hospital on Saturday after he experienced shortness of breath, though news of the hospitalization was not disclosed until Wednesday. He was initially said to be responding well to treatment but suffered a complication later in the morning.
“Shortly after our previous report on President Bush’s condition, he was admitted to the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital to address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia,” spokesman Jim McGrath said. “Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation.”
McGrath added that Bush Sr. is “stable and resting comfortably”, though he will remain in the intensive care unit for observation.
Additionally, the spokesman disclosed that former First Lady Barbara Bush was also been admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Wednesday morning. McGrath said Mrs. Bush was hospitalized as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.
“We will provide additional updates as events warrant,” he added.
Bush, who was in office from January 1989 until January 1993, is the oldest living former American president. He also served two terms as vice president in Ronald Reagan’s administration from 1981 until 1989, and he is further the father of former President George W. Bush, who was in office from 2001 until 2009.
Bush has been dealing with a number of health issues over the years, including a form of Parkinson’s disease that has forced him to use a wheelchair. He was most recently hospitalized in July 2015 after he fell at his home in Maine, causing a fractured vertebrae.
As a result of his frail health, Bush will be the only former president to miss Friday’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. The decision to skip the inauguration was made prior to Bush’s hospitalization.
“Barbara and I are so sorry we can’t be there for your inauguration on January 20th,” Bush said in a letter sent to Trump on January 10. “My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under. Same for Barbara. So I guess we’re stuck in Texas.”
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