Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Little Kennedy History

"During his time in the White House. . .medical attention was a fixed part of [JFK's] routine. He was under the care of an allegist, endocrinologist, a gastroenterologist, an orthopedist, and a urologist....His physicians administered large doses of so many drugs that [Dr.] Travell kept a 'Medicine Administration Record,' cataloging injected and injested corticosteroids for his adrenal insufficiency; procaine shots and ultrasound treatments and hot packs for his back; Lomotil, Metamucil, paregoric, phenobarbital, testosterone, and trasentine to control his diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and weight loss; penicillin and other antibiotics for his urinary-tract infections and as abscess; and Tuinal to help him sleep. Before press conferences and nationally televised speeches his doctors increased in cortisone dose to deal with the tensions harmful to someone unable to produce his own corticosteroids in response to stress...In 1961 [Dr.] Burkley concluded that the injections, along with back braces and positioning devices that immobilized Kennedy, were doing more harm than good. Burkley and some Secret Service men, who observed the President's difficulties getting up from a sitting position and his reliance on crutches, feared that he would soon be unable to walk and might end up in a wheelchair. Out of sight of the press, Kennedy went up and down helicopter stairs one at a time." Dallek, "the Medical Ordeals of Kennedy."

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