News World News

Left-wing professor claims Trump ‘incapacitated’ by COVID-19 drug

A Stanford University law professor who took the drug being used by Donald Trump to fight coronavirus claims he may be “incapacitated” from the same serious side effects she experienced.The US President’s doctors on Sunday revealed that Mr Trump was given a dose of the powerful steroid dexamethasone the previous day at the Walter Reed…

A Stanford University law professor who took the drug being used by Donald Trump to fight coronavirus claims he may be “incapacitated” from the same serious side effects she experienced.

The US President’s doctors on Sunday revealed that Mr Trump was given a dose of the powerful steroid dexamethasone the previous day at the Walter Reed military hospital, where he was flown by helicopter late Friday after experiencing “rapid progression” of his illness with his oxygen levels dropping worryingly low.

Earlier on Friday, he had received a single dose of an experimental antibody treatment designed to help the immune system, and also began a five-day course of remdesivir, the drug currently used for moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.

Mr Trump on Sunday emerged from Walter Reed for a drive-by in his motorcade to wave at supporters gathered outside, after posting an upbeat video message on Twitter thanking his medical team, who earlier told reporters he could return to the White House as early as Monday.

RELATED: Follow our latest coronavirus updates

With the car ride generating outrage from Mr Trump’s critics – who said he irresponsibly put the health of his Secret Service officers at risk by forcing them into the confined space – Stanford University’s Michele Dauber floated the latest conspiracy theory to go viral among left-wing “blue-checks” on Twitter.

“I was treated with dexamethasone following brain surgery,” she wrote.

“It is (as my team told me) a drug that seriously messes with your mind. It is a bad drug. I could not wait to get off it. Unfortunately you have to wean off which takes time. Trump is incapacitated. I couldn’t be President of my cat when I was on dexamethasone. He should not be exercising the powers of the Office of President on that drug. We are lucky if he doesn’t start a war. He’s incapacitated.”

She added, “I think the drive-by thing he just did is potentially a symptom of dexamethasone. In addition to warning of mood changes my surgeon told me it makes you feel like I could bike up Mt Tam or run a marathon right after brain surgery when I still had staples in my head.”

Prof Dauber highlighted comments by Dr Paul Summergrad, chair of psychiatry at Tufts University and former president of the American Psychiatric Association, to back up her claims.

“Dexamethasone can cause frank mania, or more severe depressive states,” he wrote. “Added to the risk of COVID related neuropsychiatric symptoms/severe delirium the press ought to be asking the medical team how they are formally monitoring his mental status.”

Certainly soma accounts of Mr Trump’s condition immediately prior to him flying to the Walter Reed Medical Centre suggest he was clearly rattled.

Vanity Fair journalist Gabriel Sherman reported that the President was increasingly concerned at his condition.

“Trump grew visibly anxious as his fever spiked to 103 fahrenheit (39.5C) and he was administered oxygen at the White House,” he wrote, referring to “Republican sources”.

Mr Sherman said he was told that Mr Trump “experienced heart palpitations” on the Friday which could have been side effects of the experimental Regeneron antibody treatment he received.

“Am I going out like Stan Chera?” Mr Trump was reported to have asked aides, a reference to his friend Stan Chera, who died of the disease in April.

Dr Summergrad denied he was violating the APA’s “Goldwater Rule”, which says that it is “unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion” on a public figure “unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorisation for such a statement”.

He said the rule, named after 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, “explicitly states that psychiatrists may share expertise about psychiatric issues in general”.

“My comments above are to be understood as general comments about known effects of corticosteroids, and COVID, and the monitoring that ANY patient might need,” he said.

“They are NOT judgments in any way about the President or his current capacity as I have not examined him.”

Prof Dauber’s thread was retweeted nearly 18,000 times and highlighted by a number of prominent Democrats.

“Wow. Read this,” said Claude Taylor, former Bill Clinton White House staffer and political activist.

Western New England University law professor Jennifer Taub floated the “25th amendment”, which relates to succession issues if a President becomes disabled.

TV producer Dan Signer wrote, “It is time to transfer power.”

Others said Prof Dauber was being irresponsible, however, and suggested there may have been other factors contributing to her experience while taking the drug.

“Or maybe, hear me out, you’d also just had BRAIN SURGERY,” wrote conservative podcast host Lyndsey Fifield.

Jessica Houseman, reporter with the left-wing ProPublica website, was also critical.

“No. This is incorrect,” she said. “Dexamethasone is a standard drug that you have probably taken and then gone right to work. Let’s not conflate the impact of a basic drug after brain surgery to the same drug used on a virus. This type of exaggerating is not helpful.”

She added that it was correctly described in news articles as “an affordable, widely available steroid”.

“That’s what it is,” she said. “It is not more than that. It is a more potent prednisone, which all of you have absolutely taken at some point.”

frank.chung@news.com.au

Leave a Comment

X

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.