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Inside Trump’s luxurious hospital ward

Just how poorly US President Donald Trump found himself following his coronavirus diagnosis is mired in confusion. But what isn’t in contention is that while he battles the infection, he’s doing it in the lap of luxury. The facility he is currently ensconced in is no ordinary hospital. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and he…

Just how poorly US President Donald Trump found himself following his coronavirus diagnosis is mired in confusion. But what isn’t in contention is that while he battles the infection, he’s doing it in the lap of luxury.

The facility he is currently ensconced in is no ordinary hospital. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and he has his own private kitchen and dining room.

Mr Trump was taken to the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Friday night reportedly after being administered supplementary oxygen in the White House. He is being treated alongside First Lady Melania Trump for COVID-19.

The Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, to give it its full title, is located in Bethesda, Maryland, beyond the borders of the District of Columbia but just a short helicopter flight from the White House.

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Its location, and its health prowess, has made it the choice for US presidents who need medical treatment for decades.

The autopsy of John F Kennedy, following his assassination in Dallas in 1963, was done at Walter Reed.

Franklin D Roosevelt was treated there as were Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan who both underwent cancer surgery.

President Reagan also recovered in the hospital following an assassination attempt in 1981 which left him with a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

Countless other presidents have also swung by to visit wounded service men and woman. Prince Harry paid at visit in 2013 to meet staff and patients.

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The predecessor to the current facility was constructed in 1909 and named after Major Walter Reed who did groundbreaking work into the transmission of Yellow Fever.

From the very beginning its focus was on the healthcare needs of America’s military personnel, specifically those in the army. Many a US war hero spent time at Walter Reed.

Over the decades, the facility expanded to as many as 5500 beds at its original location within the District of Columbia.

WARD 71: THE PRESIDENT’S SUITE

In 2011, the centre moved from its historic site in Washington into Maryland to a complex that would treat staff from not just the army but also the US navy and air force.

The relocation was designed to save money on the maintenance of the ageing buildings. But massive cost blowouts meant the new Walter Reed hospital cost $US2.7 billion ($A3.7bn) to complete.

Some of the cost went into very nice digs for any president that might have the misfortune to fall ill.

A section of the hospital, on the south side of the large medical campus, is out of bounds to anyone but the highest office holder of the land.

The Presidential Suite consists of six rooms. Knows as Ward 71, the compound includes a dedicated intensive care suite and a bedroom to recuperate in.

Less West Wing, more Rest Wing.

But unlike most hospital patients, presidents get a bit more space to stretch out in. Huge fat sofas, big armchairs and deep rugs litter the ward which in many areas looks more like a top end hotel than a hospital.

The suite also boasts a kitchen, living room and a dining room lit by a crystal chandelier.

A conference room is also within the ward, where the President can conduct matters of state.

Indeed, President’s Trump video recorded on Saturday night from the hospital, may well have been filmed from the suite’s conference facility.

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As you might expect, the suite is fitted out with all the latest technology as well as top notch security.

There is also an adjunct to the ward which features an office for the White House chief of staff and bedrooms for them and other top aides who have to be present at all times, NBC reported.

Walter Reed has no shortage of doctors, but should the President need specialist care a pre-approved list of medical staff is available who can be hurried in.

The suite is considered Defence Department grounds. That means while the President might be in hospital, medical staff do not have free reign to pop in willy-nilly.

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This is not Mr Trump’s first visit to Walter Reed. The First Lady knows the suite well having kidney surgery there to treat a “benign condition” in 2018.

Walter Reed was also the first place Mr Trump publicly wore a mask during the pandemic.

After eschewing them for some time, he donned a special dark blue mask with the presidential seal when he visited wounded service members and health care workers in August.

“I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask,” Mr Trump said at the time.

“I’ve never been against masks, but I do believe they have a time and a place.”

President Trump now has potentially around a fortnight to make himself comfortable in possibly the world’s most luxurious hospital ward.

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.