Editorial: Trump’s personal doctor violates his privacy

By The Herald Editorial Board

If he hasn’t done it already, President Trump needs to legally muzzle his odd, free-speaking former doctor in New York. In an interview published last week in the New York Times, Dr. Harold Bornstein —who gained publicity when he wrote a physician’s note in 2015 saying, “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” — blabbed about prescriptions Trump is taking.

A senior White House official said Bornstein did not have Trump’s permission to speak about his health to the Times, CNN reported. This may seem like a small issue compared with everything going on these days, but medical privacy is important to everybody. Bornstein’s professionalism has been questioned before — see the note above — but now the New York Department of Health should really step in and take disciplinary action. (And it’s not just Trump’s privacy: During the campaign Bornstein told NBC News, in reference to Hillary Clinton, “I know her physician and I know some of her health history which is really not so good.”)

The timing of Bornstein’s outpouring to the New York Times creates even more suspicion about his professionalism because it appears to be a bit of pettiness at not being named Trump’s White House physician.

The doctor spoke with the New York Times four times in January for the interview, the paper reported. In early January, Bornstein said he told Mr. Trump’s secretary, Rhona Graff, “You know, I should be the White House physician,” the NYT reported. This came after Bornstein told the webstite STAT in December that he was not asked to go to Washington. (Apparently Bornstein was not ready to accept the decision, and decided to reveal private medical information to the newspaper.)

President Trump will keep, for the time being, the same White House doctor who cared for former President Obama since 2013, STAT reported on Feb. 2. Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, was deployed in the Iraq War during the Bush administration, and received several commendations for his service. In other words, someone qualified for the job.

The president’s health is an important issue, (which Trump made clear when it came to Hillary Clinton); and Americans deserve honest information on the subject, but a doctor is bound by ethics, and the law, to not publicly discuss or disclose the health information of any patient, as Bornstein has done. Dr. Jackson will give Americans the report on president’s health, which generally doesn’t get into subjects such as the hair of the leader of the free world.

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