Friday 6 December 2019

President Trump's hospital trip was routine check-up, insists aide

On the streets: A protest against US President Donald Trump and government policies in Manhattan. Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
On the streets: A protest against US President Donald Trump and government policies in Manhattan. Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Felicia Sonmez

Donald Trump has unexpectedly spent more than two hours in hospital for what the White House said were tests that form part of his annual physical check-up.

But White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said it is "absolutely not" true that Mr Trump's visit to a doctor was anything other than a routine physical exam, maintaining that he is "healthy as can be".

"Oh, the rumours are always flying," Ms Grisham said when asked during an interview with Fox News Channel host Jeanine Pirro whether there was any truth to the speculation that the visit was out of the ordinary.

"Absolutely not. He is healthy as can be. I put a statement out about that. He's got more energy than anybody in the White House. That man works from 6am until, you know, very, very late at night. He's doing just fine," said Ms Grisham.

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Mr Trump (73) made a visit at the weekend to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland.

The trip came on a day when the president had no public events on his schedule.

Mr Trump had his first annual physical as president in January 2018. His second was in February 2019. His doctors hailed his health as "excellent" and "very good" after those exams.

Mr Trump mentioned his visit to Walter Reed in a tweet early on Sunday.

"Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery at the amazing Walter Reed Medical Centre," he said.

"Those are truly some of the best doctors anywhere in the world. Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great). Will complete next year."

For a typical annual physical exam, a patient would fast, usually overnight, so accurate blood tests could be performed. The White House said that Mr Trump was getting a jump on a portion of his physical and that lab work was included.

Mr Trump's 2018 check-up, which included a voluntary cognitive test at a time when critics were questioning his mental fitness, began about 1pm and lasted more than three hours, according to the report given at the time by then-White House physician Ronny Jackson. Twelve other doctors consulted in the tests.

Other than being overweight and having high cholesterol, Mr Trump's results were normal, Mr Jackson said then, crediting the president's genes for his overall good health.

At his 2019 exam, Mr Trump had crept over the line into obesity at 243lbs, joining about 40pc of American adults in that category.

According to the White House, his heart rate during the February exam was 70 beats per minute and his blood pressure was 118/80 mm Hg, both good. The dosage of his cholesterol-lowering drug had been increased, the White House reported.

A president's physical exam also might include an electrocardiogram and perhaps a stress test, which involves walking on a treadmill while doctors monitor blood flow in the heart, blood pressure and breathing. Mr Trump could be back for those.

Undergoing a physical is voluntary, and Mr Trump has the right to decide how much information he wants to release to the public.

Mr Jackson said in 2018 that "absolutely nothing" was withheld from the public and that Mr Trump's release of information then was the broadest in history.

The president doesn't drink alcohol or smoke, but he is fond of fast food; his exercise routine consists mainly of golf.

In a statement on Saturday, Ms Grisham said Mr Trump "remains healthy and energetic without complaints, as demonstrated by his repeated vigorous rally performances in front of thousands of Americans several times a week".

Ms Grisham said Mr Trump also "stopped by to say hello to the medical staff of Walter Reed, to share his thanks for all the outstanding care they provide to our wounded warriors, and wish them an early happy Thanksgiving."

During the visit, Mr Trump met the family of a soldier who had been injured in Afghanistan, she added.

Later, in her appearance on Fox News Channel, Ms Grisham said Mr Trump had "a really busy year ahead" so he "decided to go to Walter Reed and kind of get a head start with some routine check-ups as part of his annual exam".

"That's all it was. It was very routine. We had a down day today and so he made the decision to head there," she said.

As she wrapped up the interview, Ms Pirro described Mr Trump as "almost superhuman", adding: "I don't know how anyone can deal with what he's dealing with."

Irish Independent

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