Former first lady Barbara Bush remains hospitalized in Houston

HOUSTON - Former first lady Barbara Bush remains hospitalized Thursday in Houston with a respiratory-related issue.

Jim McGrath, a spokesman for her husband, President George H.W. Bush, told Local 2 Thursday that Mrs. Bush is still doing great and is "keen to get home to her dogs and her husband!"

Bush was admitted to Methodist Hospital on Monday, but it wasn't announced until Tuesday night. She was hospitalized with the beginning signs of pneumonia, a bacterial infection of the lungs that can easily spread in older patients.

Mrs. Bush is 88 years old. We're told her doctors didn't want to take any chances.

"The immune system is not as strong as it is in younger patients, so the cells don't have the same punch that they do," Dr. Carmel B. Dyer.

An expert in geriatric medicine at the UTHealth Sciences Center and Chief of Staff at LBJ Hospital, Dr. Dyer said there is reason for concern.

"Is the pneumonia going to spread to the blood stream and cause a blood stream infection? If you are older the pneumonia can more likely go to the brain and cause meningitis, or it can go to the heart and cause and infection of the heart," said Dr. Dyer.

McGrath Wednesday said her condition didn't change overnight and there was "nothing new to report."

She has been receiving treatment. We're told her condition is stable.

The former president's office previously released a statement saying Mrs. Bush "is in great spirits, has already received visits from her husband and family, and is receiving fantastic care."

Mrs. Bush watched the Texas A&M football game with the president on Tuesday night.

The White House Wednesday released a statement from President Barack Obama which read: "Michelle and I send our best wishes to Mrs. Bush for a speedy recovery. Barbara is blessed to have both a loving, supportive family by her side and a vibrant spirit that we hope will have her feeling better soon. I know I speak for Americans everywhere when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with Barbara and her family on this New Year's Day."

Former President Bill Clinton tweeted out well wishes: "I'll be rooting for Barbara Bush's full recovery while she's rooting for Baylor today. All my best to her and @GeorgeHWBush."

Baylor plays Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday night.

The Bush family matriarch had heart surgery in March 2009 for a severe narrowing of the main heart valve. She also was hospitalized in November 2008, when she underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer.

In 2010, she was admitted to the hospital after having a mild relapse of Graves disease, a thyroid condition for which she was treated in 1989.

Health concerns had been more common of late with her 89-year-old husband, the nation's oldest living former president. George H.W. Bush was released in January 2013 after he spent nearly two months at Houston Methodist Hospital, being treated for a bronchitis-related cough and other health issues.

She and her husband live in Houston and still make public appearances. Last week, they honored a Houston businessman and philanthropist with a Points of Light Award.

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