US electorate still ill-informed about McCain, Obama health status: Experts

October 20th, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

New York, Oct.20 (ANI): The American electorate, by and large, continues to remain ill-informed about the health status of both Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain and his Democratic rival Barack Obama, besides their respective running mates.
According to medical experts, the gaps and paucity of information on the medical history of the two candidates has left the electorate with insufficient information to fully judge their suitability for the White House and the responsibilities that go with it.
The New York Times quotes one expert, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, as saying that the information that has been released is a retreat from the approach that most campaigns took over the last 10 elections.
“In an earlier time, there was a kind of gentlemens agreement between officials and the news media that permitted serious health conditions to be played down or kept secret,” Dr.Altman claims.
For example, he says that Franklin D. Roosevelt was crippled by polio more than a decade before he became president and, by his fourth term, he had developed serious heart disease, but the public was largely shielded from the profound effects. And while much was made of John F. Kennedys bad back and the rocking chair that gave him relief, it was only in the years after his assassination that his case of Addisons disease, a hormonal disorder, became widely known.
The modern era of disclosure arguably began in 1972, when Eagleton had to step down as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee because he had not informed his running mate, Senator George McGovern, of his history of depression.
According to Dr. Altman, serious gaps remain in the publics knowledge about the health of the presidential and vice-presidential nominees 15 days before elections.
He says that the limited information provided by the candidates is a striking departure from recent campaigns, in which many candidates and their doctors were more forthcoming.
This year, the health issue carries extraordinary significance because two of the four nominees have survived potentially fatal medical problems that could recur.
If elected, Senator John McCain of Arizona, 72, the Republican nominee, would be the oldest man to be sworn in to a first term as president and the first cancer survivor to win the office.
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, 65, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, had emergency surgery in 1988 for an aneurysm in an artery in his brain and elective surgery for a second one. His campaign released 49 pages of medical records to The New York Times late last week showing that he was healthy, but the documents did not indicate whether he had had a test in recent years to detect any new aneurysm.
The two other nominees are younger and apparently in good health, but less is known about their medical history.
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, 47, the Democratic presidential nominee, released a one-page, undated letter from his personal physician in May stating that he was in excellent health. Late last week, his campaign released the results of standard laboratory tests and electrocardiograms from his checkups in June 2001, November 2004 and January 2007. The findings were normal.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,44, McCains running mate, has released no medical information.
There may be no serious problems with the health of any of the nominees, but the absence of a complet disclosure, leaves the electorate still wanting to know.(ANI)

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