Biden hasn’t seen neurologist outside annual physicals, White House doctor says

President Joe Biden has not seen a neurologist outside his annual physicals, White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a letter released Monday night addressing visits to the White House by a Parkinson’s disease expert.

The visits by the expert, Dr. Kevin Cannard, had raised questions that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had left largely unanswered earlier in the day. Biden has been on the defensive trying to reassure Americans and Democratic lawmakers that he can run and win after a poor debate performance last month.

NBC News earlier confirmed reporting from the New York Post that said a Parkinson’s expert from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center visited the White House at least eight times in eight months, according to public visitor logs.

O’Connor’s letter detailed Cannard’s background as a neurology specialist and noted that he has been the neurology consultant to the White House Medical Unit since 2012. Cannard was the one who examined Biden for each of his annual physicals, including the most recent one in February, O’Connor wrote.

Before the Covid pandemic, the letter said, Cannard held regular neurology clinics at the White House medical clinic for the thousands of active-duty military members assigned to support White House operations.

U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington Kevin O'Connor physician  (Leah Millis / Reuters file)U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington Kevin O'Connor physician  (Leah Millis / Reuters file)

U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington Kevin O’Connor physician (Leah Millis / Reuters file)

“Seeing patients at the White House is something that Dr. Cannard has been doing for a dozen years,” O’Connor wrote. “Dr. Cannard was chosen for this responsibility not because he is a movement disorder specialist, but because he is a highly trained and highly regarded neurologist here at Walter Reed and across the Military Health System, with a very wide expertise which makes him flexible to see a variety of patients and problems.”Jean-Pierre said at a news briefing Monday that Biden has a comprehensive annual physical evaluation that includes seeing a neurologist and that the results have been publicly shared. She did not release names, citing what she said were security concerns.

The White House Medical Unit has thousands of patients and normally does not share the names of physicians it works with, O’Connor wrote in the letter, addressed to Jean-Pierre.

“However, in the interests of accuracy, I have obtained permission from the President and Dr. Cannard to confirm the details I am sharing,” he wrote.

O’Connor also wrote that Biden had a physical in February and that he showed no signs of any neurological disorder, including Parkinson’s disease.

“The results of this year’s exam were detailed in my February 28th letter: ‘An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy,’” O’Connor wrote.

The questions about Biden’s health come after a poor debate performance that left people, including some Democratic lawmakers, questioning whether he should step aside and allow someone else to run.

Biden has resisted those calls, and on Monday he repeated that he will stay in the race.

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