Friday, October 09, 2020


The Daily Beast reports:
... President Donald Trump is apparently going to have a “medical evaluation” on television. In an announcement from Fox News, the network said Trump is set to do his first on-camera interview since his COVID-19 diagnosis with Tucker Carlson tonight. But, in a significantly more interesting bit of the announcement, Fox News confirmed: “Dr. Marc Siegel will conduct a medical evaluation and interview during the program.” It’s not yet clear how thorough the examination will be—but, as it will air pre-watershed at 8 p.m.—there will probably be some limits, for the sake of children watching at home.
No, Dr. Siegel won't ask the president to strip down on TV and lie back on an exam table. The Daily Caller reports that doctor and "patient" won't be in the same room.
A representative for Carlson, a Daily Caller joint-founder, confirmed that the interview would ... take place remotely and be conducted by Dr. Marc Siegel.
Now, I think telemedicine is a wonderful thing. It seems highly appropriate during a pandemic.

But if you're going to practice telemedicine on a COVID-19 patient, shouldn't you have access to the patient's medical records? Has Siegel -- who is not one of Trump's doctors -- been provided with that information? Will he be?

And since Siegel is really just a member of the general public like the rest of us, and since he intends to diagnose the president on television, which would seem to make the question of patient confidentiality moot, shouldn't the rest of us have access to the medical information Siegel has? Especially given the sometimes disrespected but still-prevalent presumption that the public has a right to know the truth about a president's health?

Or if, as I assume, Siegel intends to base his diagnosis on the happy talk we're getting from Trump and his doctors, plus a few minutes of eyeballing the president, fully dressed and bronzed, over a satellite feed, then it's kind of ethically troubling, isn't it? Are doctors supposed to diagnose patients on television with so little information?

Also, we know the outcome: Siegel will say that the president is in fighting trim, healthier than uninfected men half his age.

Is there a medical ethics board that would care to weigh in on this? Do NYU's medical school and the NYU Langone Medical Center, which employ Siegel, have any thoughts?

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