President Obama's Quick Hospital Visit

A Quick Hospital Visit For President Obama: Soft Tissue Inflammation To Blame

President Obama’s quick hospital visit was no emergency, the White House says. In fact, the president’s trip to Bethesda’s Walter Reed Memorial Hospital had to be quick; he took advantage of a brief break in his usual schedule to have a nagging sore throat examined.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggested that Mr. Obama make a visit to the doctor when he discovered that the president was suffering from a chronically sore throat. A report by Forbes revealed that although President Obama’s hospital visit was a quick one, the exam revealed that the sore throat wasn’t caused by a virus.

Instead, it was caused by gastric reflux, which is more commonly known as GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD occurs when acid produced by the stomach backs up, causing inflammation to the esophagus, and even reaching higher up into the back of the throat, causing pain and soreness that can affect the vocal cords.

Following the president’s quick hospital visit, his physician, Doctor Ronny L. Jackson, released the following statement.

“This morning, an ear, nose and throat specialist from Fort Belvoir Medical Center conducted a fiber optic exam, under my supervision, of the President’s throat based on symptoms of sore throat over the past couple weeks. The exam revealed soft tissue swelling in the posterior throat and I, in consultation with the specialist, determined that further evaluation with a routine CT scan was prudent.

“The CT scan was conducted this afternoon purely as a matter of convenience for the President’s schedule. The CT scan was normal. The President’s symptoms are consistent with soft tissue inflammation related to acid reflux and will be treated accordingly.”

Causes of GERD are often related to diet, with common culprits including red meat, alcohol, and caffeine. The condition can also be related to smoking. Obama, a former smoker, used nicotine gum to make quitting quick, and there was no word following the hospital visit as to whether cigarettes contributed to the president’s condition.

According to a report by NBC News, Obama’s annual medical visit in May showed that the president was in excellent health. While most of us get to keep our medical records completely confidential, the results of presidential hospital visits are usually released to the press. A quick statement by Dr. Jackson said Obama “eats a healthy diet, exercises daily, remains tobacco free, and only drinks alcohol occasionally and in moderation.”

Why did the president’s hospital visit have to be so quick? According to the White House, it wasn’t part of Saturday’s planned activities. Dr. Jackson and the rest of the staff at Walter Reed Hospital are to be credited with their ability to run tests rapidly; Obama’s motorcade left the hospital a mere 28 minutes after arriving for the president’s examination.

Even though the medical tests Obama underwent were quick, they were fairly invasive. Even so, the president was not sedated. Senior White House staffers and Vice President Joe Biden were kept informed for the duration of the unplanned hospital trip. President Obama remained in authority during his quick hospital visit.

[Image courtesy of AJC Politics Blog]