The White House Physician
When President George Washington fell ill six short weeks after his inauguration, he summoned Samuel Bard, one of the most prominent physicians of the day. Thereafter, when residing at his presidential home in Manhattan, Washington consistently relied on Bard for medical care. Thus Bard became the first in a line of presidential physicians, the providers of medical care for America’s chief executive.
From George Washington to George W. Bush, this volume examines 217 years of health care in the White House and the men and women who ministered to these presidential patients. Beginning with that first presidential physician’s visit on June 13, 1789, it analyzes the relationships–sometimes fruitful and sometimes disastrous–of the presidents with their physicians. While biographical sketches detailing the background of each physician are included, the main focus of the work is the especially complex physician-patient relationship and the ways in which it has changed over time.
The evolution of the presidential physician’s responsibilities is also discussed, as are developments in American medicine during presidential terms.
Presley Rixey: President William McKinley selected this navy doctor to be the first White House Physician. McKinley’s wife Ida suffered from petit mal epilepsy.
Joel Boone: He was a doctor in the White House under Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. Boone was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and was trained as a homeopathic physician.