Oct 4, 2020
Dr. Conley (Donald Trump’s Doctor) Press Conference Transcript from Walter Reed on Trump’s Condition October 4
Donald Trump’s Doctor, Dr. Conley, gave updates on Trump’s condition on October 4 since contracting COVID-19. He held a press conference with several other doctors at Walter Reed Medical Center. Read the full news conference transcript here.
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Dr. Conley: (00:17)
Good morning, everyone.
Dr. Conley: (00:21)
Since we spoke last, the president has continued to improve. As with any illness there are frequent ups and downs over the course, particularly when a patient is being so closely watched 24 hours a day. We review and debate every finding, compare it to existing science and literature, weighing the risks and benefits of every intervention. It’s timing, as well as any potential impacts a delay may have.
Dr. Conley: (00:47)
Over the course of his illness, the president has experienced two episodes of transient drops in his oxygen saturation. We debated the reasons for this and whether we’d even intervene. It was the determination of the team, based predominantly on the timeline from the initial diagnosis, that we initiate Dexamethasone.
Dr. Conley: (01:04)
I’d like to take this opportunity now, given some speculation over the course of the illness the last couple of days, update you on the course of his own illness.
Dr. Conley: (01:15)
Thursday night into Friday morning [inaudible 00:01:17] the president was doing well with only mild symptoms and his oxygen was in the high nineties. Late Friday morning, when I returned to the bedside, president had a high fever and his oxygen saturation was transiently dipping below 94%. Given these two developments, I was concerned for possible rapid progression of the illness. I recommended the president we try some supplemental oxygen, see how he’d respond. He was fairly adamant that he didn’t need it. He was not short of breath. He was tired. He had the fever. That was about it.
Dr. Conley: (01:52)
After about a minute and only two liters, his saturation levels were back over 95%. Stayed on that for about an hour, maybe, and it was off and gone.
Dr. Conley: (02:06)
Later that day, by the time the team here was at the bedside, president had been up out of bed, moving about the residence with only mild symptoms. Despite this, everyone agreed the best course of action was to move to Walter Reed for more thorough evaluation monitoring. I’d like to invite up Dr. Dooley to discuss current plan.
Dr. Dooley: (02:30)
Thank you, Dr. Conley. Before I begin a brief clinical update on the president’s condition, I do want to reiterate my comments from yesterday regarding how proud I am to be a part of this multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team of clinical professionals behind me and what an honor it is to care for the president here at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Dr. Dooley: (02:52)
Regarding his clinical status, the patient continues to improve. He has remained without fever since Friday morning. His vital signs are stable. From a pulmonary standpoint, he remains on room air this morning and is not complaining of shortness of breath or other significant respiratory symptoms. He is ambulating himself, walking around the White House medical unit without limitation or disability.
Dr. Dooley: (03:19)
Our continued monitoring of his cardiac liver and kidney function demonstrates continued normal findings or improving findings. I’ll now turn it over to Dr. Garibaldi from Johns Hopkins to talk about our therapeutics and, again, our plan for the day.
Dr. Garibaldi: (03:46)
Thank you, Dr. Dooley. I just wanted to, again, reiterate what an honor and a privilege it is to take care of the president, but to be part of such a talented and multidisciplinary team here at Walter Reed.
Dr. Garibaldi: (03:56)
The president yesterday evening completed a second dose of Remdesivir, he’s tolerated that infusion while we’ve been monitoring for any potential side effects. He has had none that we can tell. His liver and kidney function have remained normal. We continue to plan to use a five day course of Remdesivir.
Dr. Garibaldi: (04:14)
In response to transient low oxygen levels, as Dr. Conley has discussed, we did initiate dexamethasone therapy and he received his first dose of that yesterday. our plan is to continue that for the time being.
Dr. Garibaldi: (04:27)
Today, he feels well, he’s been up and around. Our plan for today is to have him to eat and drink, be up out of bed as much as possible, to be mobile. If he continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course. Thank you very much. I’ll turn it over to Dr. Conley for any questions.
Dr. Conley: (04:51)
Just a moment, please. President wanted me to share how proud he is of the group. What an honor it is for him to be receiving his care here at Walter Reed, surrounded by such incredible talent, academic leaders, department chairs, internationally renowned researchers and clinicians, including the support of Dr. Garibaldi from Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Conley: (05:12)
I’d like to reiterate how pleased we all are with the president’s recovery. With that, I’ll take your question.
Thank you. [crosstalk 00:05:19]. Dr. Conley, you said that there were two instances where he had drops in oxygen. Can you walk us through the second one? Also I’ve got a question for the lung specialist afterwards.
Dr. Conley: (05:26)
Sure. Yesterday, there was another episode where he dropped down about 93%. He doesn’t ever feel short of breath. We watched it and it returned back up. As I said, we evaluate all of these and given the timeline where he is in the course of illness, we’re trying to maximize everything that we could do for him. We debated whether we’d even start the dexamethasone and we decided that in case the potential benefits early on the course probably outweighed any risks at this time.
Did you give him a second round of supplemental oxygen yesterday?
Dr. Conley: (06:07)
I’d have to check with the nursing staff. If he did, it was very, very limited. But he’s not an oxygen. The only oxygen that I ordered that we provided was that Friday morning, initially.
About what time was that yesterday?
Dr. Conley: (06:24)
Yesterday? What was yesterday?
You said the second incidence.
Dr. Conley: (06:26)
Second incidence. It was over the course of the day. Yesterday morning.
[crosstalk 00:06:31]. Dr. Conley, what is the presidents current blood oxygen level. That’s my first question to you, Dr. Conley.
Dr. Conley: (06:37)
What do the x-rays and CT scans show? Are there signs of pneumonia? Are there signs of lung involvement or any damage to the lungs?
Dr. Conley: (06:51)
We’re tracking all of that. There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern.
[crosstalk 00:07:00] ask if his oxygen level ever dipped below 90.
Dr. Conley: (07:05)
We don’t have any recordings here of that. That’s right.
On the dexamethasone Dr. [crosstalk 00:07:10] what about the White House? What about here? [crosstalk 00:07:12]. At the White House or here? Anything below 90? Just to follow up on her question.
Dr. Conley: (07:14)
No, it was below 94%. It wasn’t down in the low eighties or anything, no.
On the dexamethasone, the steroid, sir, on the lung function [crosstalk 00:07:22]. Yesterday, you told us that the president was in great shape, had been in good shape and fever free for the previous 24 hours. Minutes after your press conference, White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, told reporters that the president’s vitals were very concerning over the past 24 hours. Simple question for the American people, whose statements about the president’s health should we believe?
Dr. Conley: (07:41)
The Chief and I worked side by side, and I think his statement was misconstrued. What he meant was that 24 hours ago, when he and I were checking on the president, that there was that momentary episode of the high fever and that temporary drop in the saturation, which prompted us to act expediently to move him up here. Fortunately, that was really a very transient limited episode. A couple hours later, he was back up again. I’m not going to speculate what that limited episode was about so early in the course, but he’s doing well.
What are they expected findings on his lungs? Why is the president not wearing a mask in the videos and photos that have been released?
Dr. Conley: (08:25)
The president wears a mask any time he’s around us and we’re all wearing our N95’s, full PPE. He’s the patient, and when he’ll move out into [inaudible 00:08:39] about out and around other people that aren’t in full PPE, I assure you, as long as he’s still under my care, we’ll talk about him wearing a mask.
He’s in a negative pressure room? The room is negative pressure?
Dr. Conley: (08:50)
I’m not going to get into the specifics of his care.
Can you answer the question, sir, on his lung function? The lung function question, Dr. Conley. [Crosstalk 00:08:54].
Dr. Conley: (08:58)
The lung function question. Can you talk that and what [inaudible 00:09:00].
Dr. Conley: (09:01)
Like every patient we perform lung spirometry on him and he’s maxing it out. We told him, see what you can do [inaudible 00:09:10] over 2,500 milliliters each time. He’s doing great.
But are you scans showing any irregularities in lungs? Are there any [crosstalk 00:09:20]? Dr. Conley, why were you so reluctant until today to disclose that the president had been administered oxygen?
Dr. Conley: (09:26)
That’s a good question.
Dr. Conley: (09:28)
I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had. I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction and in doing so, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn’t necessarily true. Here have it. The fact of the matter is, is that he’s doing really well. He is responding. As the team said, if everything continues to go well, we’re going to start discharge planning back to the White House. That’s it. Thank you.