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The White House Doctor Dishes: Some Presidents Are Tough Patients

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The White House Doctor Dishes: Some Presidents Are Tough Patients

AFP/Getty Images

BETHESDA, UNITED STATES: Rear Admiral Dr. Connie Mariano (L), personal physician to US President Bill Clinton, briefs the press along with several other doctors on the president's 6th physical 12 January, 2001, in Bethesda, Maryland. Clinton had a lesion removed from his back which will be tested, but is generally in good health, Mariano said. AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Presidents often need to be pressured into listening to their to doctors -- and sometimes that may mean threatening to get FLOTUS involved, one White House doctor dished to Niteside.

Dr. Connie Mariano, author of "The White House Doctor," was responsible for the well-being of three presidents before Obama's tenure in office and, in addition to being on call all the time, would accompany the commander in chief on foreign trips and major domestic travel. But some needed more cajoling than others to heed her advice, she said.
 
"Usually, if the president was not adherent to medical recommendations, [I] would mention that I may have to discuss the issue with the First Lady. That instantly got their attention," Mariano said. 

"We would follow up on everything because we were always with the president. The White House doctor is a constant reminder to the President about his health because we travel everywhere with him.”

Bill Clinton, who had quadruple bypass surgery in 2004,  was open to the doctor's advice, she told us, but had difficulty implementing it.
 
“Actually, all of them were very open to advice and recommendations," she said of past presidents. "The challenge was implementing the changes, especially in President Bill Clinton who was always on the go. [It was] hard to get him to rest his voice when he had his usual bout with laryngitis from allergies and over-use.”
 
We asked the good doc how she handled the 24/7 overwhelming responsibilities: “We had other doctors, nurses, medics, physician assistants who would spend the night at the White House for overnight duty. ... Needless to say, your life as a White House Doctor is about what is going on in the life of the President and family."

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