Elder Bush out of intensive care, wife Barbara released

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Chicago (AFP)

Former US President George H.W. Bush has been transferred out of intensive care and could be released from the hospital Friday or over the weekend, doctors said on Monday.

His wife and former first lady Barbara Bush was discharged from the hospital, Bush physicians Amy Mynderse and Clint Doerr said.

The former first couple were admitted to Houston Methodist hospital on Wednesday. The 41st president, who is 92, was suffering from bacterial pneumonia, while Barbara Bush, 91, had viral bronchitis, doctors said.

The former president was intubated for 48 hours to aid with his breathing. He is now breathing on his own.

"He is sitting up, watching TV, and is waiting anxiously for his favorite oyster stew for lunch," Doerr said. "He's on minimal oxygen, joking and laughing with the nurses and doctors."

Full recovery for the couple will take another week or two, according to the physicians.

"X-rays continue to improve, so no obvious re-accumulation of material in his airways that would then again put him behind the eight-ball," Doerr said, adding that the former president will need a "fairly aggressive combination of breathing medications. We'll finish off a full course of antibiotics as well."

The Parkinson's disease which has left the former president in a wheelchair played a minimal role in his illness, doctors said.

Barbara Bush, who was admitted to the hospital as a precaution, was discharged, but was to return later in the day to remain by her husband's bedside.