Media needs to stop wild speculations about Trump's health

Media needs to stop wild speculations about Trump's health
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My grandmother was from the “old country” and she wisely told me never to wish bad health on your enemies, because you never know when that negative energy could come back around to you.

I couldn’t help but think about this old wisdom last weekend when the news media began to speculate wildly about President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE’s health, just because he paid a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and underwent a work-up, which was reported to be part of his yearly physical.

By the time his physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, confirmed in a statement put out by White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham Tuesday morning that the president was not suffering from any acute problems or complaints, including chest pain, speculation was rampant throughout the media that he had an urgent or acute issue.

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To be sure, the president is under enormous pressure, and he is overweight, and his only regular exercise is golf, and he reportedly doesn’t walk the course, although golf is certainly relaxing and stress-reducing.

And per his latest labs released by Dr. Conley on Wednesday, President Trump has great cholesterol numbers, with an LDL (bad) cholesterol of only 84 and a protective (good) HDL cholesterol of 70.

I have met Dr. Conley and have been impressed with him. He cared for a friend of mine who was injured in a fall, and he was both meticulous and thorough. Perhaps most importantly, he is straightforward and doesn’t appear swayed or enthralled by the political process. I do not expect him to ever spin the health news.

He understands the importance of a president being of sound mind and body, and if he attests to this regarding President Trump, we would be wise to believe him.

His career in the military reflects this integrity. Commander Conley served as an emergency physician with the International Security Assistance Force in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  He was head of the trauma department at NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit which famously saved a Romanian soldier.  

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I am not personally acquainted with other White House physicians; I didn’t know President Trump’s prior physician, Dr. Jackson, or the physicians who took care of Presidents Obama, Bush or Clinton. But I have no reason to doubt any of them. I interviewed Dr. Craig Smith after he performed cardiac bypass surgery on Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonChris Wallace: Allegations against Trump 'far broader than the Clinton impeachment' DOJ argues Congress can't take non-legislative steps against Trump on emoluments White House spokesperson: Pelosi, Democrats 'hate Trump's success' MORE in 2004 and, although his disease was extensive, there was no indication he was ill while in office.

I know former President George W. Bush personally and can attest to his great health even now, having just ridden mountain bikes with him. He was certainly in superb health while in office, and there is no reason to believe otherwise for former President Obama.

While environment plays a role, so does genetics. President Trump’s father lived to the age of 93, his mother to age 88. His blood pressure has repeatedly been reported as normal, and his prior examinations have been essentially normal, with his high cholesterol being treated by Lipitor.

Previous attention has been paid to his CT calcium score being over 100 but, in fact, Lipitor can falsely elevate the amount of calcium in a person’s coronary arteries without being indicative of acute disease.

But the main issue here is the necessity for physicians to avoid unnecessary speculation about a president or anyone’s health. We doctors are trained to not offer medical opinions without full information, any more than a judge would do so without an extensive review of the facts of a case.

There is simply no reason to make an exception in President Trump’s case. Any attempt to do so discredits and dishonors the doctor rather than the president.

Marc Siegel, M.D., is a professor of medicine and medical director at Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health. He is a Fox News medical correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @drmarcsiegel.