Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fitness to Serve Versus Right to Privacy



President Donald Trump is scheduled to undergo a medical examination, after which he has promised to disclose the results.  I'm unsure as to how much  to trust the results as disclosed by President Trump, by my pal Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or even by the medical examiner himself or herself. After all, President Trump has already proclaimed himself to be a "very stable genius,"  which I find to be difficult to believe for reasons too innumerable to count. In explanation, suffice it to say that most "very stable geniuses" do not describe themselvs as such.  The only sorts of individuals who might choose to use such words in self description might be members of the Mensa organzation, who  often pride themselves on their supposed high intellect if not their stability as well, and might feel compelled to make such  declarations. Among other "very stable geniuses," it would seem to allow both their stability and their intellect speak for themselves.

Think about it. When is the last time you heard a bona fide genius refer to himself as such? I cannot recall a single time in modern history when such has happened.

As to the reporting of the results of the proposed examination, whether it be physical, mental, or both, who is to share the results, and how much stock should be placed in the veractiy of said reports? Trump himself can say anything he wants or direct any member of his staff to do the same about the results of his medical exam. Whether the facts shared with the public are genuine and truthful information and data or those of a more alernative nature of facthood remains to be seen.  My understanding of the situation is that the president has the same rights of privacy concerning his health information as protected by HIPAA laws as does everyone else in our nation. He can choose to inform us about his health or choose to keep the information to himself. Keeping the infomation to himself could lead to wild speculation and could ultimately hurt his cause should he seek reelection, but still, the information is his to diclose or to sit on.

Perhaps the law is unjust in this instance. Perhaps we as the public have the right to know if our president  is facing a terminal illness or a chronic illness that might affect his outlook. If, for example, he's not going to be around for long to deal with the after-a=effects, his decisions concerning the use of nuclear weapons could be skewed. Furtherore, if he suffers from a neurological condition impacting reasoning, memory, or thought processes otherwise to the extent that his cognitive functioning might interfere with his ability to carry out the functions of his job, I'm of the opinion that such is something the public has the right to know.  My opinion notwithstanding,  laws presently standing prohibit the release of such information. The nation's only protection from such a scenaeio is the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the consititution. We could only hope that those working closely with the president would recognize the signs of such impending decline and would be able to put partisan politics aside for the good of the nation.

The Twenty-fifth Amendment represents an extreme scenario. What is far more likely to happen is that the physician or physicians conducting the exam might possibly point out areas of concern, either physical or mental.   It would be then up to POTUS to take this report and use it to his advantage. He cuold choose to report it in full, to report the parts of it that support his self-proclamation as a "very stable genius," or to lie about the report in its entirety.  This is the latitude with which I take exception.

I am presidently vacationing in a tropical region. If the Supreme Ruler of North Korea were to launch nuclear weapons in the direction of the United States, while his weapons might not reach the mainland of the United States, it's more conceivable that they could reach the region in which I am presently vacationing. This gives me cause for pause. Forget that for a moment, however, as I delve into more pressing matters.

While I can  reluctantly go along with  the President of the United States holding the same right to privacy wth regard to health information as does every other citizen of this nation, I dispute his right to specifically prevaricate in terms of reports of his health. I believe that if he chooses to share the findings of his physical examination, he has an obligation to do so truthfully. I believe that it is the obligation of the practitioner or practitioners who performed said examinations to set the record straight if  the president is less than forthcoming in sharing the results of his health examination. While such is presently illegal and could result in the loss of  the physician's or physicians' license(s) to practice medicine, i feel that such should not be the case.

Kim Jong Un, as does our chief executive,  probably proclaims to his people something to the effect that he is a very stable genius. Do you believe such to be the truth? Most likely you do not, nor do I. Merely stating something does not make it true. In some cases, the actual statement makes it less likely to be true than had it never been verbalized.  What is the need for such a statement to be made? Usually  such "truisms" are stated only when the subject has had reason to be called into question.  I personally question both the intellectual competence and the emotional stability of both Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump. The fact that both are in control of nuclear weapons is a daunting prospect. Perhaps physical (including neurological) examinations as well as those establishing mental competence are in order, and perhaps the results should not be protected by HIPAA laws. While being President of the United States affords certain priviliges, perhaps responsibilities should accompany those privileges, and perhaps proving one's vitality and stability should be among those responsibilities.  The stakes are too higb for such not to be the case.

2 comments:

  1. I honestly think 45 is nuts. He gets more erratic and unstable by the day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree. I hate to even think about how this is going to end.

    ReplyDelete