The Daily Telegraph

He’s back, in­sist doc­tors as con­cerns per­sist

Pres­i­dent’s med­i­cal team may have been overzeal­ous when treat­ing him, ex­perts sug­gest af­ter fast re­cov­ery

- By Roz­ina Sabur in Washington U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Donald Trump · World Health Organization · New York City · White House · Twitter · Executive Office of the President of the United States · White House Press Secretary · Health · North Shore-LIJ Health System · Walter Reed

FOR the last three days, they have come un­der in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny and pres­sure as they treat the world’s most pow­er­ful pa­tient.

But yes­ter­day, Sean P Con­ley, Don­ald Trump’s do c t o r, a nd hi s team an­nounced the pres­i­dent’s im­mi­nent dis­charge from hos­pi­tal with an op­ti­mistic note, declar­ing with a smile: “He’s back.”

The US pres­i­dent had in­di­cated he was re­gain­ing his strength on Sun­day, when he emerged from his hos­pi­tal suite to greet his cheer­ing fans with a drive-by, giv­ing two thumbs up and wav­ing to those gath­ered out­side.

How­ever, the se­quence of events lead­ing to his dis­charge prompted ques­tions about whether the pres­i­dent is mak­ing de­mands of his med­i­cal team for po­lit­i­cal rather than health rea­sons.

Ear­lier on Sun­day, the sever­ity of Mr Trump’s con­di­tion in the early days of his di­ag­no­sis was fi­nally laid bare.

It emerged that the pres­i­dent’s blood oxy­gen lev­els had dropped so low that he was hooked up to oxy­gen for about an hour, with his vi­tal signs ap­pear­ing “very con­cern­ing” to his doc­tors.

Mr Trump was then given dex­am­etha­sone, a steroid treat­ment that the

World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends is used only for pa­tients with “se­vere and crit­i­cal Covid-19”.

Mr Trump was also given a remde­sivir and syn­thetic an­ti­body cock­tail as part of the ag­gres­sive course of ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ments.

The theme that has emerged over the last few days is of a pres­i­dent de­ter­mined to take charge both of his pub­lic im­age and of his med­i­cal care.

Af­ter hear­ing that the pres­i­dent re­ceived a “cock­tail of drugs”, health ex­perts sug­gested his con­di­tion could be more se­ri­ous than the doc­tors had in­di­cated, or that a bullish Mr Trump was de­mand­ing the in­tense treat­ment re­gard­less of the risks.

Some medics raised the pos­si­bil­ity that the pres­i­dent’s doc­tors had fallen vic­tim to so- called “VIP syn­drome”, where medics can be­come overzeal­ous in treat­ing fa­mous pa­tients or ca­pit­u­late to their re­quests.

Mr Trump’s physi­cian has al­ready in­di­cated that the pres­i­dent is not a sub­mis­sive pa­tient, re­veal­ing over the week­end that “he was fairly adamant that he didn’t need” oxy­gen, but was even­tu­ally forced to con­cede.

“Sud­denly they’re throw­ing the kitchen sink at him,” Dr Thomas Mcginn, physi­cian-in-chief at North­well Health told The New York Times. “Is he sicker than we’re hear­ing, or are they be­ing overly ag­gres­sive be­cause he is the pres­i­dent, in a way that could be po­ten­tially harm­ful?”

The news that Mr Trump would be dis­charged from hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day also caused alarm, with some of the pres­i­dent’s staff wor­ried that a pre­ma­ture re­turn to the White House could pre­cip­i­tate a sec­ond hos­pi­tal trip. The pic­ture has be­come even more com­pli­cated due to the con­fused brief­ings from Mr Trump’s med­i­cal team, dur­ing which doc­tors ap­peared to be try­ing to hide cer­tain pieces of ev­i­dence.

Dr Con­ley re­peat­edly re­fused to state whether Mr Trump had been given oxy­gen dur­ing a brief­ing on Satur­day. He later ad­mit­ted that he had given a rosy im­pres­sion of the pres­i­dent’s health to re­flect his and Mr Trump’s “up­beat at­ti­tude”. “I didn’t want to give any in­for­ma­tion that might steer the course of ill­ness in an­other di­rec­tion. And in do­ing so, it came off that we were try­ing to hide some­thing, which wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily true,” he said on Sun­day.

In be­tween these two up­dates, Mark Mead­ows, the White House chief of staff, was caught on cam­era brief­ing jour­nal­ists that the pres­i­dent’s vi­tals were in fact “very con­cern­ing”. “We’re still not on a clear path to a full re­cov­ery,” he told them.

Mr Trump, watch­ing the cov­er­age of his ill­ness un­fold on TV from his hos­pi­tal suite, was re­port­edly fu­ri­ous. Shortly after­wards, he re­leased a four-minute video on Twit­ter declar­ing that he was “feel­ing much bet­ter” and would “be back soon”. The White House also re­leased a string of pic­tures pur­port­ing to show Mr Trump busy work­ing from his pres­i­den­tial suite in Wal­ter Reed.

There were even re­ports that Mr Trump, who is known to dis­like hos­pi­tals, was push­ing to be dis­charged on Sun­day, lead­ing aides to sug­gest the drive-by out­side the hos­pi­tal in the hope of ap­peas­ing him.

Mr Trump’s crit­ics al­leged that he had risked the lives of his se­cret ser­vice agents by car­ry­ing out the “pub­lic­ity stunt” drive-by with his sup­port­ers.

“That should never have hap­pened,” one se­cret ser­vice agent al­lo­cated to the pres­i­dent and his fam­ily told CNN, adding: “We’re not dis­pos­able.”

Mem­bers of the med­i­cal com­mu­nity also pointed out that Mr Trump’s out­ing broke his own gov­ern­ment’s pub­lic health guide­lines re­quir­ing coro­n­avirus pa­tients to iso­late.

“Ev­ery sin­gle per­son in the ve­hi­cle dur­ing that com­pletely un­nec­es­sary pres­i­den­tial ‘drive-by’ now has to be quar­an­tined for 14 days,” said James Phillips, an at­tend­ing physi­cian at Wal­ter Reed. “They might get sick. They may die. For po­lit­i­cal the­atre com­manded by Trump.”

Mr Trump tweeted yes­ter­day: “It is re­ported that the me­dia i s up­set be­cause I got into a se­cure ve­hi­cle to say thank you to the many fans and sup­port­ers who were stand­ing out­side of the hos­pi­tal for many hours, and even days, to pay their re­spect to their pres­i­dent. If I didn’t do it, me­dia would say RUDE!!!”

Yes­ter­day morn­ing, the White House re­leased more pic­tures of the pres­i­dent, this time on a con­fer­ence call with his sec­re­tary of state and the chair­man of the joint chiefs of staff.

Un­der­scor­ing the im­age of a pres­i­dent hard at work was the bar­rage of tweets Mr Trump sent from his hos­pi­tal suite about ev­ery­thing from Space Force to health­care, all urg­ing Amer­i­cans to back him in the vot­ing booths.

Also yes­ter­day, Mr Trump’s na­tional s ecu­rity ad­viser Robert O’brien an­nounced that face cov­er­ings were now manda­tory for all his staff.

It fol­lowed crit­i­cism from within the White House over a “ridicu­lous” lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion about safety pro­to­col de­spite the high num­ber of coro­n­avirus cases emerg­ing within the build­ing.

Staff within the West Wing re­vealed that they were un­sure about whether to report to work, given that at least 13 mem­bers of Mr Trump’s in­ner cir­cle have con­tracted the virus.

Kayleigh Mce­nany, the White House press sec­re­tary, said yes­ter­day that she has tested pos­i­tive for the virus. Ms Mce­nany, who briefed jour­nal­ists on Sun­day with­out a face mask, said she was not show­ing any symp­toms and would con­tinue to carry out her du­ties while i so­lat­ing at home. Brief­ing re­porters, Dr Con­ley con­ceded that the pres­i­dent ”may not be out of the woods yet”, but he had deemed it safe for him to re­turn to the White House. Mr Trump’s mes­sage to the pub­lic was more forth­right: “Feel­ing re­ally good!” he


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 ??  ?? Don­ald Trump, pic­tured as he pre­pared to take a phone call from the vice-pres­i­dent at the Wal­ter Reed Na­tional Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Cen­ter, has said he is re­gain­ing strength. Be­low, Kayleigh Mce­nany also tested pos­i­tive
Don­ald Trump, pic­tured as he pre­pared to take a phone call from the vice-pres­i­dent at the Wal­ter Reed Na­tional Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Cen­ter, has said he is re­gain­ing strength. Be­low, Kayleigh Mce­nany also tested pos­i­tive

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