SUNDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Former President George
Herbert Walker Bush, who has been struggling with bronchitis and a
lingering cough, was expected to stay in a Houston hospital through
Initially, it was reported that the 88-year-old Bush was
improving and should be released from The Methodist Hospital by the
However, a lingering cough led doctors to decide to keep him
there through the weekend, the
Associated Pressreported Saturday.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said "he still has the cough and
we're now not expecting him to be discharged this weekend."
McGrath added that doctors are "going to play it safe there for
Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, and is the father of
former President George W. Bush, has been in the hospital several
times recently for treatment of bronchitis, the
The doctor in charge of his care, Dr. Amy Myunderse, said the
elder Bush's condition was never life-threatening.
"Anytime someone the president's age has bronchitis, there's concern about possible pneumonia," Myunderse said. "But Mr. Bush's condition never progressed to that level."
Dr. Sumita Khatri, a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic
Foundation, said that as "someone gets older they are at more risk
of getting chronic medical problems."
Khatri, who is not involved in Bush's care, added that, "these
problems increase the likelihood of getting infections like
bronchitis. This can lead to pneumonia if it's bacterial."
Pneumonia is a much more serious condition, which is fatal in
many elderly people.
Khatri noted that Bush suffers from Parkinson's disease, which
is a neurological problem that can effect muscle tone, including in
the muscles in respiratory system.
Bush's condition appears not to be one that can be treated at
home, which is why he is in the hospital where there is care and
monitoring round the clock. Doctors want to see that the condition
is "turning the corner and not progressing to the lower lungs and
becoming pneumonia," Khatri said.
Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New
York City, added that "one thing people need to know is that over
the age of 65 people should get a pneumonia vaccination."
For more on bronchitis, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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