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Former first lady doing well after surgery for ulcer

Thu., Nov. 27, 2008

HOUSTON – Former first lady Barbara Bush was expected to remain in a Houston hospital for the next week as she recovers from laparoscopic surgery for a perforated ulcer, her surgeon said Wednesday.

“She did well through the surgery and she continues to do very well,” said Dr. Pat Reardon, who operated on the 83-year-old former first lady at the Methodist Hospital.

The surgery, performed through a small incision in the abdomen, lasted several hours and was completed by around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Surgeons cleansed her abdominal area with fluid and closed a nearly six-tenths of an inch hole caused by the ulcer, Reardon said.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush had had minor pain for several days but that by Tuesday she needed medical attention.

Reardon said Bush declared that “this was the worst pain she ever had, worse than childbirth,” and had the Secret Service bring her to the hospital.

If not properly treated, perforated ulcers can be life threatening, he said.

Former President George H.W. Bush as well as other family members were with the former first lady during the day, McGrath said.

Reardon did not know what caused the ulcer but they can be side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which Bush is taking. He would not say why.

Reardon said the first thing Barbara Bush did after she woke up from the surgery was tell him a joke.


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