President Bush, 92, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia. Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation," his spokesman, Jim McGrath, said in a statement.
By Wednesday evening, the former President was no longer sedated. He is in stable condition in the ICU and is conscious and engaged, McGrath said.
He told CNN's Jamie Gangel that doctors wanted to keep President Bush in ICU for observation, because he's still intubated and their intention is to keep his airway open. President Bush was first hospitalized over the weekend suffering from shortness of breath and a cough and was treated with IV antibiotics.
At first, McGrath reported that he was responding well to the drugs. But Wednesday, the 41st President's condition changed and he was admitted to the intensive care unit, sedated and intubated.
"It's definitely very concerning," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, who noted that it is the first time President Bush has been intubated to protect his airway. "Certainly when someone is sedated, they're having trouble breathing on their own."
Barbara Bush treated with antibiotics
Barbara Bush also was admitted to the hospital Wednesday morning as a precaution after "experiencing fatigue and coughing," McGrath said in the same initial statement.
McGrath said Wednesday evening the first lady has bronchitis, not pneumonia like her husband. She is being treated with antibiotics. All things considered, McGrath said, doctors are very encouraged with her situation.
Bush, who served a single term as President from 1989 to 1993, was already not expected to attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington on Friday due to health concerns.
Bush sent a letter to the President-elect on January 10, apologizing for missing the ceremony and saying that he and Barbara "wish you the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country."
"My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under. Same for Barbara," Bush wrote, in a letter first reported by ABC News. "So I guess we're stuck in Texas."
Trump responded on Twitter Wednesday, wishing the Bushes a speedy recovery and thanking them for their note.
"Looking forward to a speedy recovery for George and Barbara Bush, both hospitalized. Thank you for your wonderful letter!" he tweeted.
President Barack Obama said at a White House news conference Wednesday his White House has been in touch with the Bush family.
"They have not only dedicated their lives to this country, they have been a constant source of friendship and support and good counsel" over the years, Obama said.
"They are as fine a couple as we know," he added, calling the Bushes "really good people."
Former President Bill Clinton, also offered his best wishes to his predecessor on Twitter.
"41 and Barbara—thinking about you both and sending wishes for a speedy recovery. Love, 42," he wrote.
President Bush also received a "get well" video from actress Suzanne Somers and his face lit up, McGrath said.
Previous health concerns
Bush revealed several years ago that he suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease that left him unable to walk. He uses a wheelchair or a scooter to get around and had two other health scares in 2014 and 2015.
In December 2014, he was hospitalized after experiencing shortness of breath, and the following July fell at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine, breaking the C2 vertebrae in his neck.
The injury did not result in any neurological problems, his spokesman said at the time.
|Lawrence Jackson/AP Photo|
George HW Bush moved to ICU; Barbara Bush also admitted to hospital
Former President George H.W. Bush was admitted to an intensive care unit on Wednesday, and his wife, Barbara, was hospitalized as a precaution, according to his spokesman.
The former president was admitted to the ICU at a Houston hospital to "address an acute respirator problem stemming from pneumonia," family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. McGrath said the former first lady was hospitalized as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.
George Bush was taken to the hospital over the weekend for shortness of breath. McGrath said earlier Wednesday that the 92-year-old Bush was responding well to treatments.
The 41st president was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Saturday, McGrath said in an email to The Associated Press.
"Doctors and everyone are very pleased, and we hope to have him out soon," McGrath said.
Bush's chief of staff, Jean Becker, told the Houston Chronicle and KHOU-TV that Bush was expected to go home in a couple of days.
Bush, who served as U.S. president from 1989 to 1993, has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. He was hospitalized in Maine in 2015 after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck, and was hospitalized in Houston the previous December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.
Despite the loss of mobility, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump in Kennebunkport, Maine. Last summer, Bush led a group of 40 wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three days after his 92nd birthday celebration.
Bush's office announced earlier this month that he and his wife of more than 70 years, Barbara, would not attend Donald Trump's inauguration this week due to the former president's age and health.
George Herbert Walker Bush, born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, also served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice president.
His son, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000 and served two terms. Another son, Jeb — a former Florida governor — made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in 2016. Only one other U.S. president, John Adams, had a son who also became president.
Former President George HW Bush Admitted to ICU, Barbara Bush Hospitalized
Former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush have been hospitalized in Houston, according to his office.
George Bush, 92, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital to "address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," his office said in a statement.
"Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation," the statement read. "President Bush is stable and resting comfortably in the ICU, where he will remain for observation."
As a precaution, Barbara Bush, 91, was also admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital this morning for fatigue and coughing, the statement said.
In his final presidential press conference this afternoon, President Obama said he had been in touch with their family about the Bushes' conditions.
"They have not only dedicated their lives to this country. They have been a constant source of friendship and support and good counsel for Michelle and me over the years," Obama said. "They are as fine a couple as we know, and so we want to send our prayers and our love to them. Really good people."