Last Saturday morning, Donald Trump’s personal doctor went out of Walter Reed Medical Center with a battalion of doctors to inform the world about the health condition of the American president after confirming his infection with the Corona virus.
“At the moment, I and the medical team are happy with the progress the president has made,” said Dr. Sean Conley, adding, “We remain cautiously optimistic. He’s doing well.”
Minutes later, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows came up with a completely different story, telling reporters that the president’s vital signs over the past twenty-four hours were “very worrying,” adding that the next 48 hours would be crucial.
The doctor was forced to clarify the time details of the condition of his only patient, shortly after he made his statement to reporters.
While he initially said that the president was injured “72 hours ago,” which means that the positive result of the president’s examination came out on Wednesday, 36 hours before announcing his injury, Dr. Conley later said that he was referring to Trump’s illness entering his “third day.”
On Sunday, Dr. Conley revealed that the president had received additional oxygen, after he had previously denied it.
These seemingly conflicting messages have raised concerns about the White House’s transparency regarding the president’s health, at a critical time for the country.
Who is Sean Connelly?
Conley, 40, has worked for the US President since March 2018.
Like most of the White House medical staff, Dr. Conley is a military officer, which means President Trump is his top military commander.
The roots of bringing in military doctors to the White House go back to the American Civil War. This is partly because there are not many civilian doctors who can in a short period leave their clinics for several years.
Dr. Connie Mariano, a former presidential physician, told the New York Times that military doctors are a good fit for this job because they are trained to deal with emergencies, and that “practicing medicine in the White House is like practicing it on the battlefield.”
Dr. Conley, who has roots in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2002, before studying Orthodontic Medicine at Philadelphia College, and then obtained his PhD in Osteopathic Medicine in 2006.
A professional doctorate is different from a medical doctorate. Osteopathic medicine takes a more holistic approach to treatment, with an emphasis on lifestyle and environmental factors.
In the United States, orthodontic medicine professionals receive training much like that of traditional physicians. They must fulfill certain conditions before practicing medicine, and they are licensed to practice in all 50 US states according to law. They are also free to prescribe medications.
After taking additional courses at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, Dr. Conley served in 2014 as the Head of the Department of Neurological Trauma in a NATO Medical Unit in Afghanistan.
He was awarded the Romanian Medal of Honor for saving a Romanian soldier wounded by an improvised explosive device.
Later, US Navy officer Conley was appointed to the White House Medical Unit. He became Trump’s acting personal physician in March 2018 after the president nominated his then-physician, Dr. Ronnie Jackson, to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Jackson withdrew from the nomination at a later time after a Democrat document described him as “unethical”.
Dr. Conley officially took over as Trump’s personal physician in May 2018.
What did Connelly say about Trump’s health in the past?
In February 2019, Connelly supervised a team of 11 doctors who examined Trump. He declared that the president is in “very good health,” adding, “I expect him to complete his term and beyond.”
The New York Times says the doctor has not revealed more information about the results of the four-hour examination.
The health of the man – who is the oldest among the presidents of the United States upon assuming power – has aroused great interest.
When Trump visited the hospital on an unplanned date in November 2019, Dr. Conley issued a memo describing the visit as a “pre-set routine examination.” There were rumors that Trump was complaining of chest pain, which his personal doctor denied.
Is Trump taking hydroxychloroquine?
Dr. Conley told reporters on Saturday that the president was not taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19.
And the US President had announced last May that he was taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent his infection with the virus. The spotlight was then put on Dr. Conley, who said that he had concluded that “the potential benefit of the treatment outweighs its relative risks”.
And a global study had concluded that there was no evidence that this drug could overcome the Corona virus.
The announcement about Trump’s use of hydroxychloroquine was surprising at the time.
It remains unclear whether his personal physician has explicitly prescribed the drug for him.
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