Ronald Reagan picture

Exchange With Reporters on Returning From Bethesda Naval Medical Center

April 01, 1982

Q. Mr. President, down this way.

Q. Down this way, please.

The President. Trying to get up here. All right.

Q. Mr. President, how do you feel?

Q. Can you tell us how you feel?

The President. I feel great.

Q. Will you tell us about it?

The President. I feel great. And it was, as I think was—before you were forewarned, Completely routine, and everything's absolutely fine.

Q. Did it hurt? Was it very painful, sir?

The President. What?

Q. Was it very painful?

The President. No, no. It was just an examination.

Q. Did the doctor say you have to take it easy or

The President. No, I can ride horses and keep on doing everything. Everything was perfectly normal.

Q. No medication, no—

Q. Can you tell us a little bit, sir—can you—

The President. No medication, no nothing.

Q. You won't have to go back. The President. No.

Q. Do you have to go back?

The President. No.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit how this ailment struck you initially and the discomfort that you had a few weeks ago?

The President. Oh, well, no. It was just—I recall that back in 1967, at that time he had told me that periodically it might be well to check, and we do have regular physicals, as you know. And so we were—and we'd been intending to move the physicals up, and so with this opportunity and—it was just a slight discomfort, and it followed one of those fly-around-the-country trips that I was doing a few weeks ago. And there were just a few days of discomfort. So, I took advantage of it, had the examination, and everything is just perfectly normal and fine.

Q. You have to be on any medication of any kind at all?

The President. No medication of any kind.

Q. And no problems?

The President. No problems.

Q. Are you happy?

The President. Sure.

Q. Do you feel that there's a special doctor-patient relationship which you might have to set aside when it comes to the physical condition of the President of the United States?

The President. Well, we had our routine physical before with the doctors at Bethesda. This, however, was an opportunity for the doctor who had been on hand in 1967 and who is a good friend who was going to be in the area, and he joined us.

Q. Just happened to be out here.

The President. Yes.

Q. Are you still planning to go on your trip next week?

The President. What?

Q. Are you still planning on your trip next week, your

The President. Oh, sure. Oh, yeah. Please, I'm not hiding a thing. Everything is great.

Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Thank you very much.

The President. I've got to get over to the office and go to work now.

Q. I couldn't hear a word.

The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International] will tell you. [Laughter] You tell him.

Q. I'll give a full medical report.

Q. [Inaudible]—voodoo arms control.

Q. Voodoo arms control.

The President. What?

Q. The Kennedy statement on voodoo arms control—he said that your position is voodoo arms control.

The President. Well, he just lacks the information that I have.

Note: The exchange began at 4:06 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House.

In a statement issued by Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes earlier the same day, it was announced that the President would visit the medical center for a routine medical examination after he had experienced slight discomfort in the urinary tract several weeks earlier. The President had decided to visit Bethesda when his personal physician, Dr. Burton Smith of Los Angeles, Calif., could be in the Washington area. Dr. Smith, Dr. Daniel Ruge, Physician to the President, and medical center physicians conducted the examination.

Following the President's return, Mr. Speakes announced that the results of the 90-minute examination were normal and that no further treatment was required.

Ronald Reagan, Exchange With Reporters on Returning From Bethesda Naval Medical Center Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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