Presidential Nominee Medical Files

Should The American public be made aware that an nominee lost both his testicles due to mumps several years ago?

:eek: I’d just as soon remain ignorant of that!

It was Palin, wasn’t it?

I’m still kinda :eek::eek::eek: over knowing about President Carter’s hemorrhoids thirty years ago.

Mumps? I can’t think of any reason it would be relevant. Cancer? Yes, probably. That “probably” gets stronger the poorer the prognosis. If we’re talking a metastasized from the chest non-seminoma testicular cancer, which has a death within 5 years for roughly 50% of men diagnosed with it, then yes, absolutely.

Medical records are important not so much for what happened in the past as for what they indicate may happen during office. While anyone can have an accident and become incapacitated, I’d be far more leery of voting in a person who had much better than average chances of dying or becoming too ill to serve before their term is over. And their choice of vice-presidential candidate would become much more important to me.

But mumps? Eh. From what I understand, when it’s over it’s over, with an excellent prognosis for a full recovery. I don’t need to know that anymore than I need to know about childhood chickenpox or the flu last winter.

If you had made this the title of the thread, you might have gotten more responses than the one about The Lord Of The Rings.

I think the OP’s point (really wouldn’t have hurt to be more clear so we don’t have to guess, though) was that people demanding that the candidates release their medical files and dropping insinuations that they might be trying to hide the fact that they have some horrible disease are overlooking the fact that they may simply be trying to hide some embarassing but irrelevant personal issue like the aforementioned lack of testicles or having picked up an STD at college or somesuch.

Personally I’m happy with the campaign simply having a neutral doctor review the file and then releasing a letter verifying that the candidate doesn’t have any medical issues that would affect their ability to serve a term as prez. I don’t really feel the need to have a full report on the status of Joe Biden’s herpes or Sarah Palin’s vestigial tail made public.

Now THIS is an October Surprise!

I had no idea the mumps could do that. Perhaps you meant leprosy?

The public does have some right to know what’s going on with the candidates in terms of health. Tsongas ran for president while keeping it a secret that he had a recurrent cancer, for example - that’s not right. I don’t like the secrecy that both of the older candidates this year (McCain and Biden) have employed. Whatever the truth is, they’re giving the impression they don’t want people to even have a clue about their medical status. That’s not right.

It’s true that McCain and Obama (and their running mates) have not disclosed as much information as past candidates, and everybody tries to hide everything that could even suggest a concern. The result is that we don’t hear anything of consequence.

McCain and Biden have both had some serious illnesses and have been secretive about their medical histories, but it’s hard to say anything about it other than “So what?” Thanks to today’s disclosures I now know that Biden takes Flomax. I am one well-informed potential voter. :rolleyes:

I thought so. But in researching to respond I find the worst permanent damage is the possibility of subfertility. Sorry.

He is running for President, not King. Recent experience has shown us that the sons of Presidents being President makes the idea of such a idea impossible in the future a plus.

Here’s the thing though. Presume your a testicleless John McCain, and want to hide the fact. So you can’t release your full medical records to the public, and now it looks like your hiding something, and due to your advanced age and previous medical history, many people assume its cancer, which in turn hurts your chances of getting elected.

I think the best plan is to have all the candidates release their records to a doctor paid by one of the major national newspapers, with the caveat that the doctor can then write a summary of all medical issues relevant to the persons ability to serve as prez, but would be bound by doctor-patient confidentiality not to reveal anymore.

Do employers have the right to examine potential employees’ medical records? Why should we be able to examine presidential candidates’ records?

Their health may be relevant to the job, but so what? We take our chances, like everyone else, because medical records are private, and nobody else’s damn business.

If you feel a certain candidate may be on the verge of death or grave illness, you either vote for someone else, or make damn sure the VP can handle the job if necessary.

I feel Obama made a mistake when he allowed his medical records to be released. It was a low blow to an already struggling McCain. And he made it that much more acceptable, not just in politics but everywhere, for interested parties to pry into people’s private matters.

This is a question that shouldn’t even be asked, let alone answered. No. You can’t have my medical records. Next question.

It sounds easy, but releasing it to one newspaper would lead to charges of bias, and the rest of the press would hate it, leading to questions of what else wasn’t disclosed.

The best answer is for the candidates to be as open as possible, giving too much information rather than too little. These time restrictions and rules about no notes and no photocopying are completely ridiculous. But the problem for the public is that releasing good health records can’t really help a candidate while releasing records that show potential problems can hurt. Nobody’s going to vote for a candidate because he’s healthy, but a few people might refuse to vote for a candidate they don’t think is fit for office. So you get candidates with actual issues saying little about those them while giving details about their statin use. And you get candidates who are presumably healthy saying almost nothing at all other than “I’m good.”

I read some of the New York Times’ past medical summaries a few months ago in response to this GQ thread.

On the same note, here is the summary from Dukakis and Reagan in 1984. The Times also said that Bill Clinton didn’t disclose as much information as previous candidates, and apparently Bob Dole also hit him on that issue.

I’m a little curious about any possible faked pregnancies!!! (cue scary music)

You just answered your own question. The president is not an employee or a private person. He’s a public figure and the head of state, and the argument is that his health can affect a lot of other people’s lives. A lot of things that are private for most people, like records of meetings, are made public for the president. Health isn’t an exception.

So why should you judge on a feeling instead of actual information?

How was it a low blow? He did what every presidential candidate has done for several decades, except he actually shared LESS information than most of them have. I disagree that it’s had any impact, too.

You’re making Obama sound more important than he really is. This was already acceptable in politics, and he went along with it, more or less. This has nothing to do with anybody prying into anyone else’s life.

Do you really want to hand nuclear launch codes to a man with no balls?

On second thought, that sounds like kind of a good idea…

Couldn’t that same argument be made for almost anybody? Sure, the health of the cashier at Shop N Save doesn’t really impact that many people, but what about forklift operators, or electricians, or engineers, or police, or whoever? If the guy operating the crane that lifts giant I-beams onto skyscrapers keels over dead at the wheel, a lot of people are in trouble. If a cop starts getting the jimmy-arm in a shoot-out, lots of civilians could end up dead. At least the president has an understudy.

Because we shouldn’t have access to that information in the first place. Every other method of judging presidential candidates is based on feeling; it isn’t like they’ve been president before and we can judge their abilities based on how they have actually performed the job in the past. It is all just guesswork based on what they say and how they act. I don’t think we should expect to judge their health any differently.

Well, then, I take it back that it was a low blow. I didn’t realize that it has been acceptable for so long. I still don’t agree with it. Obama could have not “went along with it” and both discourage the practice and make a magnanimous gesture to his obviously decrepit opponent at the same time. Regardless, I won’t hold it against him if it’s been like this for decades.

I don’t see how it doesn’t. My health is my business and my doctors’; nobody else’s. If a presidential candidate wants journalists to study his health like they study his speeches, by all means let them do it. But it shouldn’t be expected, and any candidate who refuses to go along with it shouldn’t be looked down upon either.

Don’t many physically demanding professions require some sort of certification from a doctor that the person is medically capable of doing the job?

It could be made, yes. But most people wouldn’t buy it, since that would basically mean no privacy for anybody. They think the president should be held to a higher standard because of his position. I think that’s basically fair. Public figures are expected to be more forthcoming about their lives than the rest of us. Most people aren’t asked to disclose their tax returns either, and wouldn’t do so if asked, but presidential candidates are expected to do that, too. And it’s pretty similar to the medical issue: they generally drag their feet on doing it, and the candidates who think the public may have some questions for them are the least forthcoming about it.

So if you took ill and weren’t able to do your job, nobody would replace you? :wink:

Yes and no. We form our own impressions of the candidates, but those impressions are based on facts - “On Oct. 20, Obama factually said this” - in combination with feelings about what the facts means, which can be more vague. “McCain isn’t likely to survive four years” and “McCain is going to live a long time, just look at his mother” are both feelings. But they should be supplemented by some actual facts about the candidates’ health- more facts than they are disclosing right now.