by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.
As Democrats parade the opinions of various psychiatric and psychological TV “experts,” claiming that President Trump is “mentally ill” and unfit for office, I was recently asked: “Should Congress and political candidates release medical records to run for or hold political office?” And “Is it even ethical for psychiatrists and psychologists to be on TV claiming the President is mentally ill, or has a personality disorder, if they have not examined the patient?”
These questions became even more relevant with the recent revelation that Grubbs Pharmacy on Capitol Hill delivers prescriptions almost daily to members of Congress and their staff, some of which are medicines for serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s dementia. In fact, the pharmacist who handles these prescriptions for Congress and the elite on Capitol Hill is quoted in the article saying he finds it “troubling” that the public does not know who is suffering from such diseases that affect brain function, memory, judgment, and ability to think and analyze complex information.
In several recent media interviews, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demonstrated facial tics, long pauses as she searched for words, stumbling over the pronunciation of simple words, and difficulty remembering basic information, dates, names, and even who is President.
Democrat presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton displayed facial tics, speech pauses, difficulty standing, and difficulty recalling words during the 2016 campaign. Yet the public was only told she had “pneumonia.” These observations are not typical of pneumonia and suggest a more serious neurological problem.
Senator John McCain disclosed he has a serious brain cancer, but has remained in office casting critical votes that affect all Americans, although this type of cancer can impair thinking and judgment and cause behavior changes.
President Trump has not exhibited any of the behaviors described above to suggest a medical or mental problem affecting performance. His speech is fluid, articulate, and does not show the pauses and loss of common words that are easily observable with Pelosi, Clinton, or McCain.
The public is already aware of a marked double standard for members of Congress and political elites with regard to offenses that would lead to jail or major financial or other penalties for the average consumer and voter. Some recent examples include insider trading, failing to disclose contributions properly, failing to pay taxes, failing to disclose foreign investments, and a host of other offenses leading to politicians’ personal financial gain.
But what has not been discussed in the public debate or media is the even more serious issue of politicians’ failure to disclose to voters any physical or mental impairment and failure that may affect their ability to perform the job they are paid to do in representing us.
Compare politicians’ lack of transparency regarding serious medical illnesses or drug or alcohol abuse with what we see in other professions:
• Physicians are required, as a condition of their license to practice medicine, to disclose any mental or physical impairment, condition or disability that may affect their ability to carry out their duties to patients, including any substance abuse. They are also required to disclose any arrests (for anything other than minor traffic violation, such as speeding). Failure to disclose this information on a license application or renewal is terms for sanctions that can include loss of license to practice medicine, or inability to obtain hospital privileges in all 50 states.
• Airline pilots have similar requirements for an annual physical and mental exam, regular performance evaluations in the cockpit with instructors evaluating in-flight performance on required “check rides.” Airline pilots also have random drug screening
• Commercial truck drivers have requirements for random drug screens and physical and psychological exams as part of their commercial drivers license renewal.
• Law enforcement officers also face random drug screening, and are subject to internal affairs investigations if they display behavior that is unprofessional, or show physical impairments that may affect job performance.
Why are members of Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive Branch of government exempted from similar requirements when they are making decisions that affect the lives of millions of Americans?
As a prescription for what is making Washington toxic and dysfunctional, this physician suggests requiring all politicians holding or running for office to release their medical records and disclose any medical or mental conditions for which they are being treated with prescription medications.
Would YOU want a pilot for your flight to show the problems exhibited by Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton or John McCain? Would YOU want your doctor displaying such incoherence and memory loss during your exam?
VOTERS, time to speak up. Hold politicians accountable for proper medical disclosures.
Then decide: Are they fit to hold office and make decisions that affect MY life?
Author/Contributor short bio:
Dr. Vliet has been a leader in patient centered, individualized medical care. Since 1986, she has practiced medicine independent of insurance contracts that interfere with patient-physician relationships and decision-making. Dr. Vliet focus is medical freedom and free market approaches to healthcare. Dr. Vliet is the founder of Vive Life Center and Hormone Health Strategies with medical practices in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX, specializing in preventive and climacteric medicine with an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems from puberty to late life.
Dr. Vliet is a 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient for her national and international educational efforts in health, wellness, and endocrine aging in men and women, and is recognized in the US as a motivational speaker in health and wellness and a powerful patient advocate, proponent of free market approaches to lower healthcare costs. Dr. Vliet is the recipient of Voice of Women Award from Arizona Foundation for Women in recognition of her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone connections in women’s health.
Dr. Vliet's consumer health books include: It’s My Ovaries, Stupid; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect-- And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman's Guide to PCOS, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Great Sex, Strength, and Stamina.
Dr. Vliet is a past Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a member of the AAPS Editorial Writing Team on healthcare reform, and a member of International Menopause Society and the International Society for The Study of the Aging Male (ISSAM). She received her M.D. degree and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She earned her B.S. and Master’s degrees from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
Dr. Vliet has appeared on FOX NEWS, Cavuto, Stuart Varney Show, Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity and many nationally syndicated radio shows across the country as well as presented hundreds of Healthcare Town Halls addressing the economic and medical impact of the 2010 healthcare law and free market reforms, as well as seminars and radio shows on healthcare reform, Men’s Health and Women’s Health.
Dr. Vliet speaks as an independent physician, not as an official spokesperson for any organization or political party. Dr. Vliet has no financial ties to any health care system or health insurance plan. Her allegiance and advocacy is to and for patients.