Former President George H. W. Bush in Intensive Care

A day after burying his wife of 73 years, the 41st President was hospitalized for an infection that had spread to his blood.

CNN (“Former President George H.W. Bush in intensive care“):

Former President George H.W. Bush is in intensive care, a day after a funeral was held for his wife, Barbara Bush, CNN has learned.

Bush, 93, was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital Sunday morning after contracting an infection that spread to his blood, family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement Monday.

“He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering. We will issue additional updates as events warrant,” said McGrath.

According to a source close to the former Republican President, Bush was admitted to the hospital with an infection that led to sepsis, which can be life-threatening. He was in critical condition, the source said.

The source added that Bush’s blood pressure kept dropping and a couple of times there was serious concern about whether he was going to come through, but that he had been stabilized.

But with Bush’s age, his health and with this infection, this is very serious, the source explained.

At 93 and having long suffered from Parkinson’s, it’s hardly surprising that his health is poor. The trauma of losing his wife of 73 years likely didn’t help—and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’d delayed treatment rather than miss her funeral.

Bush is a fighter. I had the sad task of writing an obituary for him some six or seven years ago, when I was managing editor of the Atlantic Council. He’d been hospitalized and word from the family was not encouraging. Happily, we never had to publish it. He’s given us many more scares since then and keeps coming back. I hope he keeps the streak going.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Married for 73 years to a woman he’d known for 77 years. This has to have been a difficult time for the former President. At his age and given his own medical conditions, it’s not entirely surprising that it’s all had a physical effect on him. As you said, hopefully, he’ll bounce back from this as he has in the past and he’ll be able to go home soon.

  2. Mikey says:

    I thought when Barbara died, George wouldn’t be far behind, because he wouldn’t want to continue living in a world without her.

    But then I thought the same about my grandfather when my grandmother passed away after 64 years of marriage, and he lived another 13 years, so maybe there’s some fight left in George yet.

  3. @Mikey:

    Fortunately, Bush seems to have a strong support system around him, One son, Marvin, literally lives across the street in the same Houston neighborhood and George W. is only a few hours away in the Dallas area. I’m sure they’ll be sure to be close to him when he’s released from the hospital.

    That being said, it’s not uncommon to have family deaths close in time. My Grandmother and her youngest brother were the last two siblings in their family and they died within four days of each other in 2001, and my Dad and his eldest brother died within less than two weeks of one another.

  4. Franklin says:

    Whatever the outcome, I just hope he’s not suffering. Losing his lifelong companion is bad enough.

  5. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Look, at the risk of being that guy, could we please acknowledge that people in their 90’s get sick and die without the breathless hour-by-hour coverage? It’s pretty gruesome, frankly.

  6. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis: A recent famous example was the passing of Debbie Reynolds the day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

    My grandfather passed at the age of 95 just days after his sister died at 102…however, my family never told him she’d died. He was already on his deathbed at that point, and they didn’t see any point to upsetting him when he was almost gone himself.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    If I were in my 90’s and my wife had died I’d be ready to go. It’s a huge adjustment to daily life, to your frame of mind, to your relationships, to lose a spouse, and I can’t imagine Mr. Bush is anxious to overhaul his life right now.

    The man lived, he wrote a great story for himself. This is a good time to type the three hashmarks that end a manuscript.

  8. Kathy says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    True. But the knowledge that we’re all going to die someday, and the fact that the older a person gets the more likely they are to die, doesn’t make it an iota easier to let go.

  9. Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis; @Mikey; @Not the IT Dept.; @Kathy:

    While I wish President Bush and his family the best, I don’t assume he should or may even want to bounce back. I have gone through the decline of several close friends and family members. There comes a time, known only to those close to the situation, when bouncing back is no longer the goal. Mrs. Bush affirmatively declining further treatment last week was an example. I am in no hurry for President Bush to pass, but I do wish him dignity for the rest of his life, no matter how short or long that will be.

  10. george says:


    Its interesting that its often easier for the one dying than for family. I know several elders who were at peace with death – the common refrain was “I had a good life, time to move on.” While of course the families were heartbroken.