The Corner

White House

A Lot of Reputations Are Riding on the President’s Discharge and Condition

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley flanked by doctors as he arrives to speak to reporters about President Donald Trump’s health at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., October 5, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Roughly three days after the president was transported by helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the president is slated to continue his recovery at home.

White House physician Sean Conley said the president “may not be entirely out of the woods yet.” (Everyone who objected to this headline this morning, take note.) Conley said that the president has “met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria” and that after receiving another dose of remdesivir, would return to the White House. Conley said “it has been more than seventy-two hours since his last fever.” (Note that that would be Friday night.)

Conley said, “we all remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we’re in a bit of unchartered territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early in the course.” That’s a little unnerving to hear; if the president really is unchartered territory, maybe it’s worth having all of the resources of Walter Reed close by. Then again, the Secret Service can have the president back there within 20 minutes, and the White House has considerable medical resources on site.

The doctors agreeing to let Trump go home would appear to be counterevidence to the argument that the president’s condition is worse than his doctors are letting on. While it’s very easy to envision the president being “bored” and impatient to return to the White House, no doctor would want to be remembered as the one who let a seriously sick president return to the White House when his life was still at risk.

If, God forbid, the president does require hospitalization a second time or suffers some serious worsening of his condition at the White House, the decision to release him today will be seen as a terrible mistake, likely driven by the president’s impatience.