While President Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for coronavirus, a doctor is at the center of his treatment: White House doctor Sean P. Conley.
On Saturday exiting the hospital with a team of doctors behind him, Dr. Conley gave an upbeat update on Mr. Trump’s condition at a news conference. He said the president “is doing very well” and in “very good spirits” after spending Friday night in the hospital.
The press conference put Dr. Conley in the national spotlight, who offered a distinctly different perspective than Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, later told reporters.
He became the president’s doctor two years ago
Dr. Conley assumed the role of White House physician in 2018 after Dr. Ronny L. Jackson was appointed Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Jackson had to withdraw his name from consideration for that post amid allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace and was later promoted by Mr. Trump to the position of assistant to the president and chief medical adviser of the White House. Now he’s running for a seat in the House in Texas.
In March 2018, Dr. Conley was appointed White House deputy physician and was officially nominated for the position by Trump in May 2018.
He specializes in osteopathic medicine
Dr. Conley graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006, according to Virginia Board of Medicine records.
Although their training is similar, the doctors of Osteopathic medicine, or D.O.s, differs from traditional doctors in that they are trained to look at the body and its care holistically rather than prescribing medications for specific symptoms or diseases.
Osteopathic doctors are required to complete additional courses to understand how the body’s bones, muscles, and nerves affect functioning and overall health, and sometimes use manual techniques for diagnosis and treatment, such as applying pressure or stretching joints and muscles. They can also prescribe medications.
Dr. Conley, who received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame, has served as an emergency physician for the United States Navy since 2006.
Born in Pennsylvania, Dr. Conley completed his residency at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia in 2013. Following his residency, Dr. Conley served as the Trauma Chief for the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Afghanistan.
He was director of the medical center’s Combat Trauma Research Group for just over two years.
He supported Mr. Trump’s intake of hydroxychloroquine
In May, Dr. Conley drew attention after revealing that Mr. Trump had started taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, while under his care.
Many experts have questioned the drug’s effectiveness in treating, preventing or curing Covid-19 despite Trump’s claims.
The Food and Drug Administration warned in April that it should only be used in clinical trials or hospitals. The agency also said the drug could cause dangerous heart rhythm problems.
In a May letter discussing Trump’s use of hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Conley said he and the president had “concluded that the potential benefit of the treatment outweighed the relative risks.”
At the press conference on Saturday, Dr. Conley told reporters that Mr. Trump was not taking hydroxychloroquine.
“We discussed it,” said Dr. Conley. “He asked for information. It doesn’t fit anymore now. “