If you’ve taught school, or just been to school, you’ve probably heard stories of or seen children writing “doctor’s notes” to avoid doing something they don’t want to do.
Well, it appears as if Donald Trump is doing the opposite of this: Trump recently released a letter “proving” that he’s in excellent enough health to be president. And while I’m sure it’d pass muster with the rank and file, actual doctor Sanjay Gupta, of CNN fame, had some questions about the veracity of Trump’s letter.
While sitting down with CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield, Gupta admitted that he had no idea what was going on with the letter, telling Banfield:
I don’t even know what to make of this letter.
He went on to note that the letter says things that an actual doctor wouldn’t say, making incorrect use of medical terminology and using words in ways that medical professionals wouldn’t use them.
For instance, he pointed out that the letter called Trump “the healthiest president ever” and that Trump has “extraordinary” strength and stamina — without defining what “extraordinary” even meant:
Whether you’re a doctor or not, that degree of hyperbole [claiming Trump would be the healthiest president ever] and these types of words being used is very unusual. People don’t write like that, that this is ‘the healthiest ever.’ First of all, they couldn’t substantiate. How do you know that someone is the healthiest ever?
There’s all sorts of language with that: ‘strength and stamina are extraordinary.’ What does that mean exactly?
Gupta noted that he’d run tests and then provide objective data on strength and stamina.
Of course, “running tests” implies there’s actual science going on, and we all know how right-wingers feel about actual science. As far as Trump’s letter goes, it’s right there with climate change denialism in terms of “actual science,” and leaves you wondering if Dr. Oz was the guy who ghostwrote it.
My personal favorite is the use of “unequivocally” when calling Trump the “healthiest person ever elected to the presidency.” I’m careful with my language, and one of the things I avoid is the use of absolutes. I can claim that Trump is always stupid, but all it takes to disprove me is one instance where Trump wasn’t a complete bobblehead (good luck).
“Unequivocally” is one of those absolutes that people who work in any field where there’s a margin of error work hard to avoid. And there’s a huge margin of error in medicine. All it takes is one instance to disprove Trump’s “doctor,” and I’m pretty sure that Theodore Roosevelt was healthier.
Gupta would go on to point out that the letter only showed “positive results” (if you think about it, a positive test for anything in medicine is usually bad news), used the term “test scores,” as well as other red flags:
‘Astonishingly excellent’ was another term that was used. These just aren’t terms that are used by the medical community. So I don’t know where they come from.
It says they showed only positive results. Now it’s funny in medicine, because when something is good we say it’s a negative result. Meaning, that it did not appear when we did an exam. Positive results actually means quite the opposite. Calling things ‘test scores’ instead of results. His PSA ‘test score’ was this, as if it was the SAT exam instead of a blood test. It’s a strange letter that’s absurd to look at it on face value.
I’m not entirely convinced Trump could pass a SAT exam, either. Although one can’t help but wonder if this is Trump’s immature and incompetent attempt to capitalize on that idiotic meme that Hillary is in poor health.
Something else worthy of noting: the letter says that Trump is on daily baby aspirin and a statin. It doesn’t explain why, though.
It clearly can’t be a history of heart problems and high cholesterol. I’m sure Trump’s “doctor” would produce a letter proudly proclaiming the 70-year-old who eats KFC for lunch as illustrated in the feature image has “absolutely excellent” cholesterol. So the mystery of the statin will remain, I supposed.