The White House Physician
A History from Washington to George W. Bush
About the Book
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.
About the Author(s)
Ludwig M. Deppisch, M.D.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 43 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
Table of Contents
1. Samuel Bard: The First Presidential Physician 7
2. The Pillars of the Profession: Presidential Physicians, 1812–1865 20
3. The Military Steps In, Part I: The Early Days, 1823–1865 32
4. The Military Steps In, Part II: Conflicts and Cooperation, 1865–1898 42
5. Admiral Presley Rixey: The First Authentic White House Physician 62
6. Captain Joel Boone and the Institutionalization of the Office of the White House Physician 75
7. The Military Keepers of the Stethoscope: Doctors Cary Grayson, Ross McIntire and Howard Snyder 87
8. Physician Anecdotes: The Returnee, the Academic, the Consultant and the Defendant, 1953–1981 110
9. Civilian Interlude, Part I: Medical Chaos in Camelot 122
10. Civilian Interlude, Part II: The Specialist Physicians of Presidents Reagan and Bush I 138
11. The White House Medical Unit Today 150
12. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment and Its Impact on the White House Medical Unit 159
13. Psychiatry and the Presidency 167
14. The Medical Care of Vice Presidents 179
15. Presidential Physicians After Their Tenures 192
Final Thoughts 201
Chapter Notes 207
Book Reviews & Awards
“impressively researched…fascinating”—Arizona Daily Star; “very well researched…a significant contribution to the understanding of presidential health care”—Journal of the History of Medicine; “an essential-read for any Navy medical recruiter”—Navy Medicine; “Deppisch has done his homework”—Bulletin of the History of Medicine.