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Former President Bush Still Under Observation; Elderly At Greater Risk With Pneumonia

George H. W. Bush is remaining under observation at Houston Methodist Hospital for a while longer. The 92-year-old former president was admitted on April 14th because of a persistent cough. He was diagnosed with mild pneumonia and bronchitis, but family spokesman Jim McGrath says those issues have been resolved. He just needs to regain strength.

Pneumonia can be a serious condition, especially in older adults.

This is the second time this year that the 41st president has been hospitalized with pneumonia. Although she’s not directly involved with the president’s care, Dr. Lisa Kopas with Methodist says bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics…

“To make sure the patient doesn’t get a super infection with a bacteria, and we give some nebulization treatment, some breathing treatments, oxygen if needed, maybe some fluids if the patient is dehydrated.”  

Pneumonia is a major cause of mortality among seniors aged 65 and older. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says more people die each year from pneumonia than from car accidents. Dr. Kopas says in general, it’s going to take longer for an older person to recover.

“Any patient who gets admitted at that age for pneumonia is going to be not moving around. They’re going to be in bed. And they just get weaker from a muscular standpoint, so they may need some extra physical therapy or even get sent to a rehab hospital.”   

The medical team hopes to discharge Bush by the end of the week.

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