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Quality of life at the end of life

BREAKING: Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies At 92

Opted For Comfort In Final Days

LIFE MATTERS MEDIA STAFF

Former first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at her home in Houston, Texas, at 92.

The office of her husband, President George H. W. Bush, issued a statement announcing her death but did not disclose the cause, The Washington Post reports. She was reportedly facing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.

Bush, mother of former President George W. Bush, died while receiving comfort care. On Sunday, the Bush family announced that she had “decided not to seek additional medical treatment” after recent hospitalizations over her “failing health.”

Comfort care, in the form of hospice or palliative medicine, prioritizes pain management rather than aggressive treatments.

Her decision to forego aggressive medical interventions came amid National Health Care Decisions Week, a national effort to encourage people of all ages and health stages to make their future health care wishes known.

Now in its 10th year, the initiative encourages men and women to express their wishes regarding health care and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.

Ellen Goodman, co-founder of the Conversation Project, a nonprofit encouraging families to discuss and document their end of life care preferences, applauded the Bush family announcement.

“It sounds like this forthright, outspoken woman has made her wishes known and the family is standing by her,” Goodman told Kaiser Health News.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health, echoed Goodman’s sentiments in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal before her death.

“Barbara Bush’s decision to stop aggressive treatment for lung and heart disease at 92 is a valiant one,”  Siegel writes. “Her condition has worsened over the past year, leading to a recent series of hospitalizations. Now she is facing death with fortitude, courage and realism. She should inspire everyone in the medical arena, doctors and patients alike.”

George W. Bush called his mother “a woman unlike any other.”

“Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end,” he said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”

– Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons.