In case you didn’t know, releasing medical records will mean nothing. Here’s why…

Amid concerns for the health of political candidates it seems people think medical records will clear up the issue. It won’t. Whether you worry about Trump’s weight or Hillary’s collapse, a friendly peek into a doctor’s file will mean nothing. The simple fact is doctors have tunnel vision (maybe the candidates are counting on it).

I can tell you from years of experience doctors only make documentation of conditions they are treating at that visit. As an example, you may look at the records of an orthopedic treating a broken arm; you will learn more than you imagined possible about that break. However, nowhere in the file is it mentioned the patient is a paraplegic in a wheelchair. That’s a big part of the person’s overall condition, but it’s not the condition being treated. So, records from a single doctor may explain pneumonia but never mention other chronic underlying neurological conditions. In fact, with computerized records, anything not filled in by the doctor may autofill as normal. In this case, the official record has false information. This is a regular occurrence. Doctors are human, they take shortcuts like everyone else.

So what about getting the records from a primary care doctor? The PCP isn’t treating any serious problems. For those, the patient is sent to a specialist. The PCP may or may not get a copy of those records and will likely ignore the conditions since he/she isn’t treating them. So if only the PCP notes are released you won’t see many serious conditions mentioned unless they popped up recently.

Lastly, there’s untreated conditions. If someone has a long standing chronic condition that is untreatable it’s usually not discussed in records. The doctor addresses the conditions that are being treated. Chronic conditions tend to drop off the record.

So whatever we see from the candidates involving medical records, it won’t settle anything. We would have to trust them to turn over everything. I don’t. If you want to see what the medical condition of your candidate may be; they will need to submit to an exam by a third party doctor and provide a blanket medical release for the doctor to search out and request copies of all he/she can find.

It’s just not going to happen. If you are worried about your candidate you better pay more attention to the VP candidate. If Clinton’s health fails you get Kaine. If Trump goes down to a medical problem (or impeachment) you get Pence.

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