‘Setbacks’ keep former President H.W. Bush in hospital over Christmas

Former President George H. W. Bush will remain in the hospital on Christmas Day after suffering “setbacks” in his recovery from a month-long bout with bronchitis.

“He's had a few setbacks. Late last week, he had a few low-energy days followed by a low-grade fever,” said Bush spokesman Jim McGrath, according to a report by the Associated Press. 

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“Doctors still say they are cautiously optimistic, but every time they get over one thing, another thing pops up,” he added.

The 88-year old former president was admitted to the hospital in late November to receive treatment for a persistent cough. Bush aides at the time said that his illness was not life-threatening and that they expected him to be released in time for Christmas. 

A spokesman for Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, where Bush is being treated, said on Sunday that doctors were being cautious and expected the 41st president to make a full recovery. His physicians wanted Bush to “build up his energy” before he could return home. 

“Given his current condition, doctors just want to hang on to him,” said McGrath on Monday. 

The president will be visited by his wife Barbara and son Neil on Christmas, reports said.

McGrath said that the extended hospital stay has been challenging for the president, who is known for his active lifestyle, but he said Bush was keeping his spirits up. 

“He’s just the most relentlessly positive person,” he said. “He does enjoy joking with the nurses.”