Written by Ashton Snyder on
 July 7, 2024

Report: Biden met with Parkinsons specialist in January, fueling rumors about declining health

Behind-the-scenes activities at the White House that took place earlier this year have drawn increased public attention, as specialists, including a Parkinson’s disease expert, reportedly met with President Biden’s physician.

On Jan. 17, specialists convened at the White House, stoking interest amid recent concerns over President Biden's health that followed his shaky debate performance, as Fox News reports.

Contextualizing White House Medical Meet Up

The meeting, documented in White House records, included Dr. Kevin Cannard, a renowned Parkinson's disease expert from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Dr. Kevin O'Connor, who is President Biden's personal physician, hosted this gathering which also involved Dr. John E. Atwood, a cardiologist, and another unidentified person. It occurred at 5 p.m. on Jan. 17.

The White House Medical Unit (WHMU) often invites specialists to meet with the presidential medical team. Dr. Cannard's visit marks his tenth since 2022, highlighting the routine nature of such consultations. The WHMU primarily serves the thousands of military personnel stationed at the White House, providing medical care under various specializations.

Presidential Activities on Day of Meeting

While specialists and physicians were meeting, President Biden was present at the White House. On that same day, he engaged in discussions with House and Senate leaders about funding for Ukraine, proving his active role in ongoing government responsibilities despite the healthcare discussions occurring in the background.

The timing of these specialist visits, particularly in light of a faltering debate performance by President Biden in Atlanta on June 27, has led to increased public scrutiny of the president’s health. However, these meetings are described by the White House as standard protocol for ensuring the health care of personnel and of President Biden himself.

Official Statements on President Biden's Health

In February, Dr. Kevin O'Connor publicly reassured the nation about President Biden's health, asserting he was fit to serve and stated that tests had specifically ruled out Parkinson’s disease. This statement came after President Biden was described as a "healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male," capable of fulfilling presidential duties.

Amid concerns stemming from his June debate performance, the White House maintained that President Biden’s health is robust, with no new medical exams required according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. She mentioned that President Biden had recently had a verbal check-in about a mild cold but did not undergo a formal medical exam.

Broad Range of Specialists Attend to Military Personnel

Explaining the reason behind the frequent visits of medical specialists to the White House, spokesperson Andrew Bates stated, "A wide variety of specialists from the Walter Reed system visit the White House complex to treat the thousands of military personnel who work on the grounds." This statement underscores the broad and routine medical care operations at the White House, extended to military staff and the President.

In echoing his earlier assessments, Dr. O'Connor reiterated, "President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency." His comments aim to quell the rising speculation about the President's capability to govern, following his publicized unsteady debate performance.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre further clarified the official stance on President Biden's health status by sharing details of the recent interaction concerning the cold he said he had during the debate. "He did have a short verbal check-in in the recent days about his cold, it wasn't a medical exam or a physical," she explained, stressing the informality and minor nature of the medical interaction.

Protocols Under the Microscope

The White House has emphasized its comprehensive healthcare arrangements for its and the president, facilitated by regular meetings with top medical specialists. President Biden's health continues to be characterized as stable by his physician, amid routine checks and public engagements.

The consistent presence of specialists like Dr. Cannard at the White House reflects ongoing efforts to maintain optimal health for all incumbents, but given recent events, the circumstances surrounding the January convergence of medical staff is sure to remain under scrutiny.

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About Ashton Snyder

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