Why is a colonoscopy being done at Camp David?

Is there a medical facility at Camp David, or did they just bring a colonoscopy van? There are risks associated with colonoscopy, including bowel perforation, heavy bleeding following polyp removal, adverse reaction to anaesthesia, and bowel infection. While these reactions are relatively rare, when the life of the President is at stake, wouldn’t it be prudent to perform the procedure in a hospital, which is much better prepared to deal with complications than an ad hoc clinic at Camp David?

Is there any substance to the speculation that the colonoscopy is a cover story for some other event taking place at Camp David?

IIRC, Presidential medical exams are usually done at Walter Reed, which has been in the news of late for some rather unsavory reasons.

CNN reported that five polyps that were not a concern were removed during the colonoscopy. It seems unlikely that would be just a cover story for something else, since a clean bill of health would be a better story with no follow-up.

Perhaps; it just seemed odd to do a colonoscopy at Camp David. I am willing to have my ignorance fought though.

Security more than likely. Camp David is already a secure facility, and a colonoscopy doesn’t really need a full hospital to perform. The infirmary on-site is good enough. Less travel hassles, no building to secure, no other patients to move, etc.

And now that I think about it, there probably is a clinic at Camp David for treating medical issues. I know that the Secret Service routinely certifies hospitals in different parts of the country to be able to handle the President if he has a medical emergency at some point. No doubt having a clinic at Camp David would save vital time if something were to go wrong with the President. Remember, the faster someone gets treatment, the more likely they are to survive.

I wasn’t able to find any references to the medical facilities located at Camp David. I was hoping someone could enlighten me.

Presidents have frequently had minor procedures and checkups done at Walter Reed Medical Center or Bethesda Naval Hospital, so that can’t be that big of a problem, or else they would do them at Camp David as well.

But do these medical exams include being put under to the point of making the Veep Acting Chimp? I’d venture to say that given the current state of paranoia at 1600, Camp David probably would seems the more comfortable option.

I imagine you won’t find detailed (if any) information on such things “for reasons of National Security.” A buddy of mine who handles video gear for a local hospital had to work with the SS to find a way to physically disable the automated video systems used in the ERs so that if the President was ever brought there, there’d be no chance of anyone being able to monitor what was going on and gain classified information.

I would have expected the exact opposite; anything requiring general anaesthesia is more serious than a checkup, thus more likely to take place in a hospital, not less. I am not saying a colonoscopy can’t be performed outside of a hospital, only that potential complications such as bowel perforation would require hospital intervention, and in the case of the US President, extra precautions would be warranted.

Sorta-Hijack: How does the Secret Service certify the hospitals? Do you mean they review the medical procedures done, history/experience of the doctors, etc? Or is it purely a “if the President comes in you’d have to move everyone else out of the ER” type thing?

My understanding is that they have to be able to handle any kind of medical emergency that a President it likely to have and they have to have doctors of a certain skill level. This particular hospital is also FEMAs operation center for the area, which leads me to believe that the two are connected.

If anybody can sit through the press briefings, they may answer this question for us. Some reporter has to be thinking the same thing. Maybe Snow will tell us sometime today.

It’s much more dramatic to fit the doctor with an explosive collar wired to the President’s heart monitor (“If he dies, you die.”) after he’s been whisked away to your secluded facility, than trying to do it standing in the middle of a crowded public emergency room.

Most colonoscopies are not done under general anesthesia. The pt is sedated with meds via his or her IV. The infirmary (depending on how it’s stocked and who is staffing it) should be fine. Lots of scopes are done in outpt facilities, not at hospitals. The staff are trained in BLS and ACLS, with a crash cart and Plan B. Given that this is the WH were talking about-they no doubt had an entire medical team on stand by somewhere close. (that’s what I would want, if I were President).

Colonoscopies are minor procedures. Sure there’s a chance of serious complications but their likelihood is so remote that it doesn’t offset the benefit of doing it in the ultra-safe and ultra-controlled environment of Camp David. Moreover, the delay in getting the president to an acute care facility if the need arose, would be a matter of minutes when there’s a helicopter at his beck and call. And, it’s actually hard to imagine any complication that might arise as a result of colonoscopy where tertiary care is essential in the first 20 minutes or so.

As an aside, a White House press release today said that propofol was used as the anesthetic agent. It is extremely safe, doesn’t really “put you to sleep” and wears off in a few minutes. In other words, not a big deal at all.

<side note>

Propofol is white, and, at least in my hospital, is nicknamed “Milk of Amnesia.”


It’s part of the peace process.

I dunno, they are sneaky bastards. :slight_smile:

There have been no problems with medical care at Walter Reed. Walter Reed recently received the highest medical recertification for hospital care.

The problems reported in the news dealt with outpatient housing facilities. In addition, the real problem is the military is releasing wounded personnel from medical care to literally “get them off the books.” Woe be you if you are not active duty personnel; Guard and Reserve wounded literally thrown to the wolves as soon as possible so their statistics don’t bring down the overall scores. It also makes Guard and Reserved wounded ineligible for extended VA care.