AUSTIN - Family members tell KVUE that Richard Overton, the nation's oldest living World War II veteran and a beloved Austinite, has been released from the hospital after getting pneumonia in both lungs last week.
Last Friday was supposed to be the official unveiling of home renovations on the 111-year-old World War II veteran Richard Overton’s home, but instead, Austinites were wishing him a speedy recovery.
Overton's family told KVUE he was taken to St. David's hospital at 3 a.m. Thursday -- where he was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs.
Overton is known for sitting on his front porch of the East Austin home he's lived in for more than 70 years and his love of whiskey and cigars.
But now, the condition of his health is a big unknown.
His family told KVUE he had fluid in both of his lungs as a result of pneumonia.
Mack Easty, an Emergency Room Physician at Austin Emergency Center, said it's often something he will see in a chest x-ray when diagnosing a patient.
"We’re not talking about the just simply the bronchial passages themselves, we're talking about the actual lung tissue, where all the little air sacks, the alveoli are, filled with fluid from an infection of pneumonia," said Easty.
Easty said infants and the elderly, those over 65-years-old, are most susceptible to pneumonia.
"They're the ones that the CDC recommend get vaccinated for pneumonia," said Easty. “It’s not just the age, it’s also a lot of the conditions that people have, you know someone could be a diabetic, they could be overweight, they could have heart trouble, things like that, just any other chronic illness, these are the type of people with lower resistance that are more susceptible to pneumonia.”
Victoria Ellenburg works with the aging population at AGE of Central Texas.
"Basically your immune system becomes more suppressed as you get older and so that's what makes it harder to kind of bounce back from having pneumonia,” said Ellenburg. “As we age, the ability to bounce back diminishes.”
She said additional problems like high cholesterol, or high blood pressure can add to the problem.
"Anything like that, and then you throw in pneumonia, that just makes the chances of recovery a lot harder," said Ellenburg.
Ellenburg also works with caregivers, telling them to look out for pneumonia symptoms like coughing, fever, fatigue or chills.
"You always want to kind of look out for stuff like that," said Ellenburg.
And that's when you go see a doctor like Easty.
He said once you spot those symptoms, they can usually treat it with an antibiotic.
This is the second time Overton has suffered from pneumonia this year.
His family told KVUE back in May he was in the hospital for almost a week with fluid in his right lung.
“If someone had pneumonia, and it really got to be a big pneumonia, and they had to go to into the hospital and things, I would consider that they might want to keep in mind they might be more susceptible for something like that,” said Easty.
“It is one of those things that once you get that infection in your lungs, it can occur again,” said Ellenburg.
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