Former first lady Barbara Bush in ‘failing health,’ will not seek further treatment

April 16, 2018

Former first lady Barbara Bush, wife of one U.S. president and mother to another, has been in and out of the hospital to treat her declining health but will not seek additional medical treatment, a spokesman for the Bush family said Sunday.

Bush, who has been to the hospital a number of times recently to treat unspecified health conditions, will seek “comfort care” instead of further treatment, family spokesman Jim McGrath said.

Barbara Bush in “failing health”

“Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care. It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” the statement read. “She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”

Bush, 92, has had Graves’s disease, a condition of the thyroid, for years. It isn’t clear what problems she is having now, although some media outlets have reported she is suffering from congestive heart failure.

Granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager says Bush is in “great spirits.” Hager described her grandmother as “a fighter. She’s an enforcer. She reminded me not to believe everything you read.”

Her son Marvin, daughter Dorothy, and son Neil are by her side in Houston. George W. Bush and Jeb also visited but have left since. Her husband George visited her at least once a day when she was in the hospital, McGrath said. “We are two people, but we are one,” the former president said, according to McGrath.

Trump administration shows support

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that “the President’s and First Lady’s prayers are with all of the Bush Family during this time.”

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Halley also signaled her support for the ailing former first lady. “Prayers going up for a woman of great faith, great strength, and an unwavering love of country. Our country is better because of former First Lady Barbara Bush,” she tweeted.

Legendary life

Barbara Pierce was born in Rye, New York, to Pauline and Marvin Pierce, a magazine publisher. She met George Herbert Walker Bush at a school dance when she was 16.

They married in 1945 when she was 19 and he was 20. They are the longest-married presidential couple in American history, and had six children, one of whom died as a toddler from leukemia.

She is also the second first lady who also had a son who became president. The other is Abigail Adams, wife of the 2nd president, John Adams, and mother of the 6th, John Quincy Adams. Bush is the wife of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, and mother of George W. Bush, the 43rd president.

Barbara and George were both prevented from attending President Trump’s inauguration because of separate health problems. George H.W. Bush, 93, has a form of Parkinson’s Disease and uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around. He has also been treated in recent years for respiratory problems, including pneumonia.

Bush told Smith College’s alumnae magazine last month that she was still very much in love with her husband. “I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe. I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts! Also, George Bush has given me the world. He is the best — thoughtful and loving,” she said.


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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.