Former Obama doctor says Joe Biden is not a healthy guy.
President Barack Obama's once-longtime doctor said the
medical records Joe Biden's campaign
disclosed are concerning and incomplete.
"He's not a healthy guy," Dr. David Scheiner, who was
Obama's personal physician for 22 years before he became
president, concluded after reading
the records. "He's not in bad shape for his
age, but I wouldn't say he's in outstanding health.
Could I guarantee he won't have issues for the next four
years? He has a lot of issues that are just sort of
A three-page letter from Biden's physician concluded
the former vice president is a "healthy, vigorous,
77-year-old" that is fit to be president. But the letter
also revealed Biden receives treatment for an irregular
heartbeat and high cholesterol and that he deals with
acid reflux and seasonal allergies. It noted his already
known history of aneurysms and that he took blood
The details from the letter made Scheiner, 81,
concerned about Biden's potential for strokes, and he
said he would want to see results from an MRI or CT
scan. Because Biden also used to have sleep apnea before
getting surgery on his sinus and nasal passages,
Scheiner said he would also like to review the results
of a sleep study.
The report doesn't mention an MRI despite the fact
that Biden had two brain aneurysms in 1988, the first of
which almost killed him. Earlier this year, the
interviewed Biden's former surgeon, who
vouched the 2020 front-runner was in the clear.
But the latest health information doesn't mention
details of any checkups that likely occurred to screen
for future issues. The report also included mention of
surgeries that hadn't been previously disclosed,
including one for an enlarged prostate. Previously, the
public only knew Biden had received treatment for the
Dr. Kevin O'Connor, who wrote the assessment, also
stated that Biden had "received multiple physical
therapy treatments and surgeries, for various sports
medicine and orthopedic injuries" but declined to
specify any further.
"I had no idea Biden had such a history. My goodness
gracious, he's got a lot of history," Scheiner said.
Biden's last medical records disclosure, from when he
was Obama's running mate in 2008,
was 49 pages. He has faced speculation this
election cycle about his age and mental capacity,
including from President Trump, who has said Biden is "
not playing with a full deck."
The most recent doctor's letter doesn't address
Biden's vision, even though Biden blamed a contact lens
mishap for his eye
filling with blood during a town hall, nor
does the letter address whether he has had multiple
Historically, presidential candidates have relied on
letters from their personal doctors to disclose details
of their health to the public. As a result, there's no
uniform way that a candidate's medical information is
presented to voters, and there's no guarantee the
information is complete.
For instance, former Arizona Republican Sen. John
McCain made more than 1,500 pages of medical and
psychiatric records available to reporters because he
had a history of cancer and was a prisoner of war, but
rumors about his health persisted. In contrast, Hillary
Clinton released a
two-page letter that omitted her weight.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump's doctor declared he
would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the
presidency." Later, the press learned the phrase had
been dictated by Trump himself, and the White House
few details of an unscheduled visit the
president made in November to Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Scheiner said he wants to see MRI results for Trump
to check for strokes, as well as a neurocognitive
assessment. He raised concerns about the president's
speech pattern and behavior, saying it may be a sign of
"Something happened," Scheiner said of the Walter
Health information from this year's presidential
field has been similarly sparse. Michael Bloomberg, 77,
released records from his doctor on Dec. 12 declaring
him to be in "
outstanding health," a phrase Scheiner called
"hyperbole" because the medical records also disclosed
he previously had problems with his heart and takes
"'Outstanding health'? With that history, I wouldn't
call it outstanding health," Scheiner said.
Elizabeth Warren, 70, released a one-page medical
report this month from her physician concluding the
Massachusetts senator "
is in excellent health" and listed a number
of tests showing a normal heartbeat, cholesterol, blood
pressure, and other vital signs. Unlike Biden, Warren
excluded a detailed record of her medical history.
Instead, her physician made a passing mention to a
thyroid disorder in which medication is prescribed.
Warren's doctor also mentioned exams such as
mammogram tests and that she recently had a flu shot.
Scheiner said it seemed like Warren is in good health
but said he would want more information on all of the
candidates. Bernie Sanders, 78, hasn't released his
medical records yet but had a
heart attack in October.
Scheiner signed off on Obama's health ahead of his
presidential campaign, and while he still believes the
former president had a clean bill of health and that
another assessment would have been "superfluous," he
firmly believes that all candidates for the presidency
should disclose far more medical information than they
do now and that it should be collected and disclosed by
an independent medical panel.
"The stakes are too high," Scheiner said. "If they
make a mistake because their cognitive skills are
diminished, we pay the price."