White House Physician
  • When President George Washington fell ill six weeks after his inauguration in 1789, he summoned the prominent New York City physician Samuel Bard. When residing at his presidential home in Manhattan, Washington relied on Bard for his medical care thereafter. Bard thus became the first in a long line of presidential physicians.

    From George Washington to George W. Bush, The White House Physician examines 217 years of White House health care and analyzes the relationships – sometimes fruitful, sometimes disastrous – of the presidents with their physicians. Biographical and educational sketches of each physician are included but the main focus is the especially complex physician-patient relationship and its changes over time.

    The White House Physician also discusses major developments in American medicine – the education of physicians, hospital care, women in medicine, the conflict between organized medicine and homeopathy – as these relate to the evolution of presidential care.
  • Presley Rixey: President William McKinley selected this navy doctor to be the first White House Physician. McKinley's wife Ida suffered from petit mal epilepsy.
  • Joel Boone: He was a doctor in the White House under Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover. Boone was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and was trained as a homeopathic physician.
White House Physician