Former President George H.W. Bush, who has been in hospitalized since Nov. 23, is now in intensive care at Houston’s Methodist Hospital with a persistent fever.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said in an email Wednesday that the president had suffered “a series of setbacks” but is alert and talking to medical staff. McGrath added that doctors are cautiously optimistic about his treatment and that the former president “remains in guarded condition.”
No other details were released about his medical condition.
Earlier Wednesday, McGrath said a fever that kept Bush in the hospital over Christmas had gotten worse and that doctors had put him on a liquids-only diet.
“It’s an elevated fever, so it’s actually gone up in the last day or two,” McGrath told The Associated Press earlier in the day. “It’s a stubborn fever that won’t go away.”
But McGrath added that the bronchitis-like cough that initially brought the 88-year-old to the hospital had improved.
His wife, Barbara, his son, Neil, and Neil’s wife, Maria, and a grandson visited Bush on Christmas, McGrath said. Bush’s daughter, Dorothy, was expected to arrive Wednesday in Houston from Bethesda, Md. His sons George W. Bush, the 43rd president, and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, have also visited the 41st president on two occasions.
Bush and his wife live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
The former president was a naval aviator in World War II—at one point the youngest in the Navy—and was shot down over the Pacific. He achieved notoriety in retirement for skydiving on at least three of his birthdays since leaving the White House in 1992.