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I'm a Doctor and Here Are 5 Takeaways From Trump's Medical Evaluation

Donald Trump shared details of his COVID symptoms—here's what you need to know.

One week after the initial diagnosis of COVID-19, President Donald Trump had is first live interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. Speaking with Dr. Marc Siegel from the White House, the President shared his diagnosis, treatment, and recovery details.

Although Trump's medical team had been giving updates throughout his hospitalization, it was the first time that the President was able to give details of his symptoms before his hospitalization and how he has felt since returning to the White House. As an Emergency Physician, here is what I was able to learn from his interview. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


President Trump Felt "Moderate Fatigue"


The major symptom the president reported was moderate fatigue. "I didn't feel very strong," he stated when asked about what symptoms he had before entering Walter Reed Medical Center last week.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptom patients have experienced from COVID-19, with close to 70% of patients reporting at least mild fatigue. There appears to be no correlation between the disease severity and the extent of the fatigue. According to a recent study out of Ireland, the fatigue that is caused by COVID-19 can be debilitating, causing some patients to be unable to work even 10 weeks after the onset of symptoms.

The president seems to have been spared from severe exhaustion, as he returned to the White House just a few days after the initial diagnosis and is already discussing being back to normal work hours.


President Trump Experienced Cough

man coughing

Dr. Siegel asked the president what tests he got while hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center, such as X-rays and CT scans. The president reported that he had at least one CT scan while in the hospital. "Initially, I think they had some congestion in there, but ultimately it tested good. And with each day it got better. And I think that's why they wanted me to stay frankly, but the CAT scans were amazing," he said. The finding of inflammation in his lungs is most likely the reason for the intermittent oxygen treatment the president received while in the hospital. COVID-19 can cause irritation and damage in the lungs. This damage can cause patients suffering from COVID-19 to have oxygen levels that are dangerously low. 

RELATED: I'm a Lung Doctor and Here's How to Tell if You Have COVID


President Trump Wants to Donate His Convalescent Plasma


When asked if he was going to donate his plasma to help with research and treatment, the president was very willing to do so. Convalescent plasma is a process whereby a patient who has recovered from a disease donates their blood. Proteins and antibodies are in a part of the blood called the plasma, which is a clear-appearing liquid. This antibody-rich product is then used to treat patients who are currently infected with the disease. The theory is that your body may not make antibodies in time to reduce the  extent of the virus before very concerning side effects occur. It is a treatment that is currently allowed by the FDA, given the lack of other treatments for COVID-19.


President Trump Was on Dexamethasone

Dexamethasone Corticosteroid

According to President Trump, some of the medications that he was given while in Walter Reed were continued when he returned to the White House. This is not surprising as he reported some inflammation in his lungs, which would be treated with steroids. Trump was on dexamethasone until today, according to reports. This is common for patients with COVID-19, as the National Institutes of Health recommend dexamethasone treatment for COVID-19 to minimize some of the most concerning symptoms such as severely low oxygen levels. 


President Trump Have Been Re-Tested

Doctor show rapid laboratory COVID-19 test for diagnosis new Corona virus infection

Dr. Siegel also asked the President if he is currently without any symptoms and if he has had a COVID-19 test to prove he no longer has the active disease. When asked if he has been retested, he responded, "I haven't even found out numbers or anything yet, but I've been retested. And I know I'm at either the bottom of the scale or free."

This is a very difficult situation for the healthcare community. Patients have been found to have positive COVID-19 swabs days to weeks after initial presentation. This is going to be very important as Trump returns to his normal schedule of work at the White House as well as the campaign trail. If he is truly negative, the implication is that he doesn't have any active virus in his respiratory tract that could cause others to become infected. 


President Trump Seemed to Be in Good Shape

Donald Trump on Fox News
Courtesy of Fox News

The president was able to speak in normal sentences throughout the interview and did not seem to be overly short of breath at any time, which is a very good sign. There are obvious benefits to being the president, with much of his treatment being offered to him because of his status. But in the end, his disease course seems consistent with many patients who will contract COVID-19. As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Kenneth Perry, MD FACEP
Dr. Perry is an active practicing physician and Medical Director of an Emergency Department in Charleston, South Carolina. Read more about Kenneth
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