Clinton releases additional papers on medical history Administration submits health report under pressure from Dole

September 14, 1996|By Carl M. Cannon | Carl M. Cannon,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Pressed by the Dole campaign, President Clinton released a four-page summary of his health from his physician last night as well as reports from seven previous doctors -- all of which state that Clinton has no significant medical problems.

The report, furnished by Dr. E. Connie Mariano, did not include actual lab results, but rather were summaries of those results. fTC White House officials said they hoped their release would lay to ++ rest any suggestion that the president was hiding something in failing until now to furnish more complete records of his health.

"If this don't do it, I can't imagine what else you need," Mike McCurry, the White House press secretary, told reporters.

Clinton, 50, can outrun and outwork most of the reporters who cover him, so his physical condition had never been an issue until recent weeks. But questions arose because of three factors:

The July decision by Bob Dole to release his medical records and to undergo a comprehensive interview with Lawrence K. Altman, a medical writer for the New York Times who is also a physician. Dole has called on Clinton to do the same.

The appearance this month of a bulging cyst on Clinton's neck, )) and conflicting information about it provided by aides. Leon E. Panetta, Clinton's chief of staff, said the president would not have it removed until after the election.

But last week, Clinton's doctors showed up unannounced in the White House briefing room to say that the cyst had been removed and was benign.

Signals sent by McCurry. This week, he suggested there might be embarrassing facts in the medical records. When reporters asked whether McCurry was implying that the president might have a sexually transmitted disease, McCurry was taken aback.

"Good God, do you really want to ask that question?" he said.

But those with institutional memories knew that more was at stake than embarrassment. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's aides minimized the extent of his heart disease; President John F. Kennedy's doctors lied about his serious Addison's disease; and as recently as 1992, Paul Tsongas, a major candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, concealed a recurrence of cancer.

Faced with questions, the president instructed his aides to make this issue go away, McCurry told reporters. "He said, 'Just give them what they need to show I'm in good health,' " McCurry said.

The records provided last night paint just such a picture. If they are complete, the only mystery is why the president and his doctors took so long to release them.

The president has a minor high-frequency hearing loss and minor aches, including a sore shoulder and arm. He takes allergy shots, needs high-end sunscreen, gets "adult acne" and takes Maalox and prescription medicine for stomach acid. He has no history of high blood pressure, diabetes, tuberculosis, cancer, stroke or heart disease.

Pub Date: 9/14/96

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