Presidents George Bush, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter assembled with First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Rosalynn Carter to rededicate the Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1997. Just before their formal portrait was taken, President Bush gave the old "rabbits ears" to his wife Barbara.
Ex-First Lady Barbara Bush Has Heart Surgery
Bush Aide Says the Former First Lady Was 'Alert and Funny' After Surgery
By ELOISE HARPER and GINA SUNSERI
March 5, 2009
Former first lady Barbara Bush had open-heart surgery Wednesday and is resting comfortably at a Houston hospital with her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, by her side, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath told ABC News.
The surgery, which Methodist Hospital in Houston said was scheduled last week, was taken as a precautionary step after doctors found hardening on one part of Bush's aorta, McGrath said. Doctors had tracked the hardening and determined they didn't want to wait.
[A]ccording to the hospital statement, "a hardened aortic valve needs to be replaced because, when left untreated, it can result in heart failure or sudden cardiac death."
The surgery by Dr. Gerald Lawrie, heart surgeon at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, lasted two-and-a-half hours, the hospital said in a statement, and Bush should be discharged in seven to 10 days. "The surgery went extremely well and we were able to successfully replace her aortic valve," Lawrie was quoted as saying in the hospital's statement. "I expect her to recover fully and soon resume her normal activities."