Former President George H.W. Bush Remains Hospitalized

For more than a month now, former President George H.W. Bush has been in a Houston hospital as doctor’s try to deal with what appear to be persistent respiratory problems:

A “stubborn” fever that kept former President George H.W. Bush in a hospital over Christmas has gotten worse, and doctors have put him on a liquids-only diet, his spokesman said Wednesday, describing Bush’s condition as guarded to CBS News.

Jim McGrath, Bush’s spokesman in Houston, had said earlier in the day that the fever had gone away, but he later corrected himself.

“It’s an elevated fever, so it’s actually gone up in the last day or two,” McGrath told The Associated Press. “It’s a stubborn fever that won’t go away.”

Doctors at Methodist Hospital in Houston have run tests and are treating the fever with Tylenol, but they still haven’t nailed down a cause, McGrath said. Doctors also have put Bush on a liquid diet, though McGrath could not say why.

The bronchitis-like cough that initially brought Bush to the hospital on Nov. 23 has improved, McGrath said. The 88-year-old is now coughing about once a day, he said.

The fever would seem to indicate that there’s an infection of some kind that has not been completely eradicated, a frequent problem in people of Bush’s advanced years and the fact that he is now confined to a wheelchair due to Parkinson’s Disease makes such problems more likely. Hopefully, he’ll be able to kick this and get back home to his family.

Update: CNN reports that Bush has been in the ICU unit since Sunday:

(CNN) – Former President George H.W. Bush remains in an intensive care unit at a Houston hospital with a “stubborn fever that is slightly elevated,” his spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.

He has been in the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital since Sunday, spokesman Jim McGrath said, and has been hospitalized there for over a month.

Best wishes to the former President for a speedy recovery.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    As someone who spent Christmas and the weeks before as the caregiver for my 90 year old mother who is in home hospice I feel for the Bush’s.

  2. @Ron Beasley:

    I’ve been through similar situations with my Grandmother and my Mom in the past and I know it’s not easy. The fact that someone is moved into ICU after a month in the hospital certainly isn’t good news.

  3. CSK says:

    Whatever is afflicting GHWB must be resistant to antibiotics. A few years ago, I had to call an ambulance to take my 90-year-old father to the ER with pneumonia. I asked the attending physician if he would recover. The reply was: “Of course. We’ll just pump him full of antibiotics.” Two days later he was fine, and home.

    I hope GHWB recovers. Whether you agreed with his politics, he appears to be a good man.

  4. Gustopher says:

    A month in a hospital sounds pretty horrible. I hope he recovers, I always liked him better than the rest of the Republicans. Even when I didn’t agree with his policies, or where they didn’t pan out well, it was clear that his heart was in the right place.

    The illness sounds viral based on the treatment described. But, if not, perhaps he will be a poster-child-octogenarian for not overusing our antibiotics on animals and creating drug resistant bacteria in the process.

  5. matt says:

    From the looks I wouldn’t imagine he’ll make it out of the hospital alive at this point.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I am fortunate in that I can afford to have a talented caregiver come in and help me 5 hours a day and the hospice people are also wonderful.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Ron Beasley: I went through that with my father this past summer. Hospice is pretty amazing.