CLOSE

Dr. Sean Conley clarifies his statements on President Trump’s condition at Walter Reed

Wochit

A day after evading direct questions about President Donald Trump’s medical treatment, Dr. Sean Conley said Sunday outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center he was “not necessarily” intending to mislead the public.

Conley a Navy commander and the president’s physician, said he was , the 

Dr. Conley, on Saturday, kept dodging questions on whether the president had ever been on supplemental oxygen, only stating that he was (at the time) not on it. The White House later confirmed, anonymously, that Trump was given oxygen at the White House on Friday before going to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

When asked about the contradicting reports from himself and the White House, Conley said Sunday Trump had been on oxygen, and that he was “not necessarily” intending to mislead the public and “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, the course of his illness has had. (I) didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of the illness in another direction.”

‘Ups and downs’: Doctors say Donald Trump is improving while hospitalized; aides project image of calm

Conley adds doubt the the veracity of the reports being given by the White House and the president’s medical staff. He admitted that “it came off as if we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true.”

When asked on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent, said that this isn’t what a physician is supposed to do.

“He’s coming out ot debrief the public about the president … if you’re going to do that then you have to be absolutely honest. It wasn’t just sort of conveying an ‘upbeat attitude.’ It was purposefully misleading yesterday about a very basic issue, which is whether or not the president had been on supplemental oxygen,” Gupta said.

What can be shared, according to HIPAA law?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is set to “assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected, while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well being.”

As with any civilian, the law protects the president’s health records from being divulged to the public without his consent.

“The doctors are not going to get on television and contravene the narrative. It’s the president’s privacy. If he doesn’t want to share information with the public, they can’t,” said Dr. Russell Buhr, a pulmonologist and critical care professor at UCLA.

Dr. Sean Conley, physician to President Donald Trump, briefs reporters at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP)

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, health care workers are not legally allowed to release information about a  patient’s conditions unless