Obama's Medical History

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The Health and Medical History of Barack Obama

 DoctorZebra.com has referenced Obama's maladies and conditions, here:

 
Childhood infections.  Had measles and chicken pox while living in Indonesia. Infectious exposures -- Exposed to multiple animals while living in Indonesia, including a New Guinean ape, chickens, ducks, birds, dogs, and crocodiles.  He also was exposed to human diseases: scurvy, polio, leprosy, and a man with gaping hole where nose should be (syphilis?).  Had an "endless series of shots" before going to Indonesia for the first time.  Comment: Who made these diagnoses?

Minor childhood travails Developed an "egg-size lump on the side of my head" after another boy struck him with a rock.  Acne.

Forearm laceration. Ran into barbed wire while mudsliding in Indonesia.  One of his forearms was lacerated from wrist to elbow, and required 20 stitches.  "An ugly scar" remains.

Cigarettes Obama was smoking cigarettes in high school.  He continued smoking afterwards.  He talked about quitting in 1988, but this may have been in jest.  He has [tried to] quit several times over the years.

While running for President in 2008, he said he would quit, and that he was chewing Nicorette.  His wife disclosed that, in exchange for giving her permission for him to run, she required that he quit.  According to a February 2008 report, he quit smoking "several weeks" earlier.

Comment: Obama's total exposure to cigarettes, measured in "pack-years," has not been released.  Any competent physician would elicit this information from the patient.  It is so important that some physicians have called it a new "vital sign" (that's silly, but it makes the point).  The quantified smoking exposure is important, among other reasons, in estimating the risk of various diseases.  Although it appears as if the information was deliberately suppressed, I hope a reader can supply a pointer to the data.

Drug use Used marijuana and "blow" (cocaine) in high school.  He was dissuaded from injecting heroin by the fear that an air bubble might be injected, which would travel to his heart and stop it.

Traveler's diarrhea Developed diarrhea while visiting Kenya, circa 1988.  A relative gave him an herbal preparation as treatment.  Obama did not report if it was effective.

Snores?  Obama describes his half-sister Auma saying to someone:  "My brother, I think he snores."  From the context of the story, it is possible the half-sister was making this up, as a joke.

Head cold Developed in Dallas in late February 2008.

Physician's letter 2008 While running for the Presidency in 2008, Obama released a one-page letter from his physician, summarizing 21 years of medical history [More].  The letter offers reassuring statements about Obama's blood pressure, cholesterol profile, electrocardiogram, and basic blood tests, including prostate specific antigen.

Comment: There is nothing inherently wrong with summarizing 21 years of medical history on one page -- if the patient has been healthy. Even so, this letter leaves a bad taste in Dr. Zebra's mouth, for several reasons:

(1) It is undated.  Putting a date on a document is as automatic as breathing for a physician.  Why was there no date?
(2) The characterization of "intermittent" smoking is unprofessional.  Physicians speak in terms of "pack-years" of smoking.
(3) The statement that Obama maintains a "good intake" of fluids rings false.  Except for patients with various diseases, there is no call to measure fluid intake.  It sounds like the physician was trying to fill space.

Exercises Is conscientious about exercising, "often jogging three miles," according to a 2008 letter from his physician [More].  Most of the press reports during the 2008 campaign, however, centered on his basketball playing.  He was on his high school's basketball team.

Height & weight: Obama is 6 feet 2 inches tall, and weighs 165 pounds.  He wears size 13 1/2 bowling shoes.

Weighed 8 lb 2 oz at birth [3m].

Writes with his left hand. [Observed on inauguration day.]

 

Note from Obama's doctor here:

 

 

 Copyright  Beckwith  2009

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