Aide: Elder Bush's family 'cautiously optimistic'

Former President George H.W. Bush is being treated at a Texas hospital.
Former President George H.W. Bush is being treated at a Texas hospital.
Posted: December 28, 2012

HOUSTON - The family of former President George H.W. Bush sought privacy and provided no new details Thursday about his medical condition, a day after his spokesman said he is in intensive care after being hospitalized for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said he would put out another statement "when events warrant it," citing the family's right to and desire for privacy.

Bush, 88, entered Methodist Hospital in Houston on Nov. 23 for treatment of what McGrath has described as a "stubborn" cough. He had spent about a week there earlier in November for treatment of the same condition.

It was hoped Bush would be well enough to spend Christmas at home. But while his cough improved, he developed a persistent fever. McGrath disclosed Wednesday that Bush, the oldest living former president, had been transferred to the intensive care unit Sunday and his condition was downgraded to "guarded."

"He needs to rally," McGrath said. "We continue to be cautiously optimistic."

The former president has had visits from family and friends, including longtime friend James Baker II, his former secretary of state. Bush's daughter, Dorothy, arrived Wednesday from her home in Bethesda, Md. Other visitors have included his sons George W. Bush, the former president; and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor.

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

Bush suffers from a form of Parkinson's disease that forced him in recent years to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair for mobility.

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