BETHESDA, Md. (AP) – President Joe Biden was declared healthy and vigorous 78-year-old – his 79th birthday is Saturday – after a routine physical exam Friday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
White House doctor Kevin O’Connor called Biden “apt to successfully perform the duties of the presidency, including those of chief executive, head of state and commander-in-chief” after the ‘medical review, noting that Biden regularly takes three common prescription drugs and two over-the-counter drugs.
O’Connor revealed he had investigated Biden for increased cases of “clearing throat” during public remarks and a stiffening of his gait. O’Connor reported that Biden’s cough was the result of gastrointestinal reflux and the stiff gait was the result of a new diagnosis of “mild peripheral neuropathy”, spinal arthritis and compensation for a foot fracture suffered a year ago.
As part of the screening, Biden underwent an “extremely detailed neurological exam” that ruled out stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but detected neuropathy, which is nerve damage. hands and feet. O’Connor said the most common cause of the disease is diabetes, but Biden does not have diabetes. Biden, he said, would soon try custom orthotics to improve his gait.
During Biden’s colonoscopy, a “benign-looking polyp” of about 3 millimeters was identified and removed and would be investigated over the next week. O’Connor said Biden had never had colon cancer.
White House history was written when Biden briefly transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris while undergoing a routine colonoscopy as part of the exam, in which Harris became the first woman to hold that authority. Biden transferred power to Harris, the first woman, first black person and first person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president, for 1 hour and 25 minutes while under anesthesia at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center .
See: Biden briefly transfers power to Harris as he undergoes a colonoscopy during the annual Physical Friday at Walter Reed
Biden is the oldest person to ever serve as President of the United States. Press secretary Jen Psaki said he returned to duty after speaking to Harris and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain at around 11:35 a.m.
Interest in Biden’s health has been high since he declared his White House candidacy in 2019 and remains intense as speculation about a 2024 re-election bid swirls. The visit to the suburban Washington Medical Center was his first routine physical exam as president – and his first since December 2019.
As Biden left the medical center in the afternoon, he said he felt “good!” “
“A great physical vote and a great vote in the House of Representatives,” he said, referring to the passage through the House early Friday of his roughly $ 2 trillion social and environmental program.
After returning to the White House, he said “Nothing has changed” with his health, joking, “We are in great shape and I can’t wait to celebrate my 58th birthday.”
While she was interim president, Harris worked from her office in the West Wing, Psaki said. She traveled to Ohio after Biden woke up from the procedure.
Biden was keenly aware of the history he was making when he chose Harris to be his running mate, Psaki said, adding that she was making “history every day” at work.
“Today was certainly another chapter in this story which I think will be noted for women, young girls across the country,” she added.
In Biden’s last physical examination, medics found the former vice president “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully perform the duties of the presidency,” according to a report by a doctor at the time. .
O’Connor, who has been Biden’s primary care physician since 2009, wrote in a three-page memo that the then presidential candidate was in good shape overall.
In that report, O’Connor said that since 2003, Biden has had episodes of atrial fibrillation, a potentially serious but treatable type of irregular heartbeat. At the time, O’Connor cited a list of tests that showed Biden’s heart was functioning normally and his only care needed was a blood thinner to prevent the most worrying risk, blood clots or stroke.
Biden came close to death in 1988, requiring surgery to repair two brain aneurysms, weak bulges in the arteries, one of which was leaking. Biden has never had a recurrence, his doctor said, citing a test in 2014 that looked at his arteries.
Pursuant to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Biden signed letters to Senator Patrick Leahy, President pro tempore of the Senate, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at 10:10 a.m., saying he would not be able to s’ perform their duties under anesthesia. , making Harris the interim president. Biden wrote to himself after the procedure to resume his duties at 11:35 a.m.
“As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007, and following the process defined in the Constitution, President Biden will transfer power to the Vice President for the brief period he is under. anesthesia. “Psaki said before Biden’s colonoscopy.
Upon returning to the White House, in addition to offering his reaction to the verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial in Wisconsin, Biden participated in the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon.
See: Meet Peanut Butter and Jelly, the Thanksgiving Turkeys Biden “Forgives”
When Biden took office, he brought O’Connor back to the White House to continue being his doctor, and O’Connor was to have led a team of experts to conduct Biden’s physical examination on Friday.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, Biden’s team took intense action to keep the then candidate and now president healthy as the virus raged and wreaked disproportionate havoc among older populations. Biden received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020 and his second dose just two weeks before taking office. He received a booster dose, which regulators say provides longer lasting protection, in late September.
Psaki said Biden’s doctor will issue a “full written summary” of his physical exam, as is customary for presidents and presidential candidates. Former President Donald Trump, 75, has come under heavy criticism for disclosing only superficial details about his health while running for and serving in the White House, including hiding the severity of his COVID illness. 19 one month before the 2020 presidential election.
MarketWatch has contributed to this.