Sunday, March 28, 2004

Medical History of American Presidents

Medical History of American Presidents This tabulates the little-known illnesses of America's chief executives. It is copiously referenced. As a librarian and scholar, I appreciate that.

From the site:

Constitutional crises have not occurred with the eight Presidential deaths in our history. Why? Because the Constitution provides for transfer of power to the Vice President, and because death is unambiguous and permanent.

By contrast, only luck has prevented a Constitutional crisis arising from Presidential illness.

Our laws leave most matters of Presidential illness ambiguous. Although the 25th amendment to the Constitution defines what happens after a President is deemed incapacitated by illness, no law defines such illness, or when or how or by whom the medical evaluation for such an illness is performed.

Tour this website, and note the heavy burden of disease that has afflicted our presidents. Recent presidents are no exception. We have been very lucky indeed.

The problem of Presidential illness needs wider discussion. By gathering, in one place, all the medical aspects of our Presidents' lives, I hope to put some urgency behind the discussion, to remind people that serious illness has visited the White House in the past, and will do so again -- unpredictably.

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