Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Many people have speculated on President Trump's mental health, and Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News medical commentator, tells us in USA Today that he's appalled:
Some of President Trump’s tweets and off the cuff comments may seem disinhibited, exhibiting a lack of good social judgment and calling on a need for restraint. But linking this pattern of behavior to a possible larger neuropsychological issue is pure speculation and a dangerous leap to take. There has been way too much doctor and pundit-driven speculation in the news media already about Trump’s supposed mental health deficiencies.

I endorse the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater Rule, which advises members not to armchair diagnose or assess public figures they’ve never met or received consent from.... it’s unethical to speculate medically in public....
Now, here was Dr. Marc Siegel in August 2016:
[Sean] Hannity informed his viewers that a photo "which shows Hillary Clinton apparently needing assistance to climb a flight of stairs at a campaign stop back in February" went viral thanks to a prominent link on the Drudge Report. Hannity did not note, as the photo service Getty Images noted, that Clinton had merely stumbled and been caught by Secret Service agents....

He brought in Marc Siegel and David Samadi, two Fox News medical pundits who had never examined Clinton personally, but who suggested that the photo, Clinton's 2012 concussion and three falls since the start of the Obama administration raised serious questions.

"You see from our picture up there that it looks like she can barely get up stairs without two people carrying her," Siegel said. "I want to know what her neurologist says. I've reached out to her neurologist at Columbia after she had that fall. No comment. I want to know what her neurological records show."

... "What about this photo that the Gateway Pundit had up today?" Hannity asked. "Hillary's handler gets caught with a diazepam pen. What would that be for?"

"Someone is carrying a pen that you'd use in case of a seizure, a Valium pen — that makes me wonder about that," Siegel said.

In fact, as the fact-checking site Snopes later uncovered, the agent was holding what appeared to be a small flashlight; the rumor that he was holding a medical device was based entirely on hearsay....

"What about some of the weird pauses she has, the coughing fits she has?" [Hannity] asked Siegel, appearing [the following] night. "There are moments when I'm literally watching her and I'm thinking, okay, the facial expressions are odd. They seem off."

At first, Siegel restrained himself. "I don't know this because I'm only looking at a video," he said. "But I saw the same video you saw, and I'm wondering about a word called 'aphasia,' where you're searching for words, you suddenly lose those words, and that can be the sign, again, of some kind of traumatic brain injury or the aftereffects of a concussion."
In that first Hannity appearance, Dr. Siegel also said:
I think a traumatic brain injury with symptoms down the road is very, very likely here especially since she had a blood-clot on her brain.
Around the same time, Dr. Siegel appeared on John Gibson's Fox News Radio show and said this about Clinton:
She had a fall in 2009. She had a fall in 2011. Her fall in 2012 caused a big concussion that President Bill Clinton said kept her really rehabbing for six months. We've been learning more and more lately about post-concussion syndromes.... post-concussion syndromes can cause problems with cognition, with memory, with thinking. There doesn't seem to be any sign of that with her -- you saw her interview with Chris Wallace, I mean, she seems sharp as a tack. But I want to know this.
In his current USA Today op-ed, Dr. Siegel writes:
The notion of observing supposed dangers in our leaders from afar is itself scary, especially as seen through a distorting media lens.
His commentary was a prime example of this in 2016.

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