Trump’s doctors grapple with competing demands from public and patient, experts said

The chief White House physician was facing heavy scrutiny over the weekend for obscuring aspects of President Donald Trump’s health after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, focusing attention on the vexing challenge he faces navigating the demands of an anxious nation and a commander-in-chief who favors rosy assessments.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 4, 2020.


© Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 4, 2020.

“When you’re in a complicated situation like this, you can only go so far,” said Dr. Benjamin Aaron, the chest surgeon who in 1981 removed the bullet from President Ronald Reagan, and said he and his colleagues “felt a sense of duty to level with the American people.

“It’s appropriate to be open, but there has to be a certain amount of implied trust” with his VIP patient,” he said.

MORE: An unusual patient, an unusual

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Higher Ed Institutions Grapple With Public Health Implications of In-Person Instruction


At the end of June, 97% of college presidents reported that their universities planned to offer a mix of online and in-person learning in response to the coronavirus this fall, according to a survey by the American Council on Education. 

But now, schools are increasingly reversing course, returning to online classes in response to the ongoing pandemic. 

“What we’ve seen is that many schools that planned to re-open for at least some in-person instruction decided that they could not do so safely,” says Dr. Terry Hartle, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at the American Council on Education. “But it’s always been the case that the course of the pandemic would determine the ability to open and the ability to stay open.” 

Some — like Howard University and Johns Hopkins University — changed plans before the semester even began. 

“After consultation

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