No patient gets closer medical attention than the president of the United States. Wherever he goes, a doctor, nurse or paramedic trails a few footsteps behind, ready for any medical need. It is the ultimate in concierge medicine.
For the president’s doctor, it is a little different, as detailed in this New York Times article. The job of White House physician combines professional responsibility with the glamour and trappings of proximity to history. The White House medical office is only a few steps from the Oval Office, and the doctor has automatic access to the president’s living quarters.
A medical staff member stays overnight in the White House. When the president travels, the doctor rides in a limousine near the head of the motorcade. Jet lag and stress make the job one of near-constant fatigue, shadowed by dread of assassination attempts.
Now a recent holder of the job, Dr. Connie Mariano, has written an account of her nine-year tenure under three presidents, Bill Clinton and both George Bushes. The book, The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents — a Memoir, is one of just a handful of autobiographical accounts by presidential physicians.
Dr. Mariano’s story is an inspiring one. The daughter of a Navy steward, she was the first Filipino-American of either sex to rise to rear admiral, and the first woman in the military to become the White House physician. Read more…