Sunday, April 02, 2006

When the President is the Patient

President Johnson is Prepared to Undergo Gall Bladder Surgery at the Bethesda Naval Hospital (Photograph, 1965, Courtesy of Yoichi R. Okamoto, LBJ Library Collection). From the exhibit When the President is the Patient. "...'When the President is the Patient' compares the public image of U.S. presidents with their private medical concerns. Based on the exhibit at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, it raises the political and ethical issue of how much the public should know about the chief executive's health. It asks the question 'Do truths hidden from the public serve a greater good, or should we know everything?' The exhibit demonstrates how politics has frequently dictated presidential policy on revealing medical information, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1955 heart attack, and John F. Kennedy's Addison's disease. It focuses on real events in which the health of a sitting president has influenced, or is suspected of having influenced, the course of history."


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