Bush "Fit for Duty"

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- President Bush was pronounced "fit for duty" by his doctors after his annual physical Saturday. The checkup was delayed for four months because of his heavy travel schedule during the campaign.

"I have interviewed and examined President George W. Bush and have reviewed his medical record," a statement signed by 10 doctors said. "Within the scope of my specialty, I find him to be fit for duty and have every reasonable expectation that he will remain fit for duty for the duration of his presidency."

The White House planned to release details of the four-hour examination later Saturday.

Presiding over the medical exam at the National Naval Medical Center outside Washington were White House physician Richard Tubb and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the president of the Cooper Aerobics Center. Also involved were a radiologist, optometrist, sports physician, hearing specialist, skin specialist and cardiologist.

It was the fourth physical of Bush's presidency. He usually has his annual exam in August but this year found it more convenient to his schedule to wait and his doctor had no problem with that, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

After the checkup, Bush stayed at the medical facility to visit with Marines and sailors recovering there from injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The hospital now has about 50 inpatients recovering there from wounds suffered in battle, most in Iraq -- and Bush was trying to see all of them, Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler said.

The facility has treated more than 1,100 Marines and sailors since the beginning of the two conflicts, he said.

Bush has visited with wounded troops at Bethesda once before. He has made six trips to see injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

The 58-year-old president, who won a second four-year term on Nov. 2, was pronounced extremely fit in his past three annual exams.

At nearly 6 feet tall, Bush was found in his 2003 physical to weigh 194 pounds, with a 14.5 percent body fat, a healthy resting blood pressure of 110/62 and a resting pulse rate (45 beats per minute) that puts him in the range of a well-trained athlete.

The president's only reported health problems have been minor: a mild high frequency hearing loss that does not affect everyday conversation, an optic condition that has the effect of farsightedness, and a now-healed minor muscle tear in his right calf last summer.

Last winter, with his knees causing him increasing pain after nearly three decades of running, Bush switched to riding a mountain bike for exercise. Those who have biked with him say the president is as aggressive on the trails as he was on the track as a jogger.

The president made headlines in May when he was cut and bruised in a spill off his mountain bike while riding around his Texas ranch.

Bush has had several small skin growths treated as a preventive measure, including lesions around his nose that are common in people with sun damage. He has had four small lesions removed from his cheeks and arm with liquid nitrogen.

The president smokes an occasional cigar. He quit drinking alcohol when he was 40. He has caffeine in diet sodas and coffee.


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