“Presidential Little-known, Medicine-related Interesting Facts: Number One”

There are many little-known but interesting, medicine-related facts regarding our American Presidents. President William Henry Harrison briefly studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania until his father died and left him without money to continue his education.

No US president has ever held a degree in medicine. Harrison lost his first presidential bid in 1836 at age 63 but was successful the next time around, in 1840—only to die 32 days after taking office, of complications from pneumonia. He had the tragic record of having had the shortest presidency. Ron Paul, MD was the first physician in modern times to run for US president. Dr. Paul, father of ophthalmologist Rand Paul, first ran for President of the United States in 1988 as the candidate of the Libertarian Party. In 2008 and 2012, he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president. Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, campaigned for the Republican nomination this year but dropped out of the race. Dr. Howard Dean, the only Democrat family physician, sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. Dr. Jill Stein, an internist, ran for president in 2012 on the Green Party ticket. John F. Kennedy was the first President to name the first woman to the office of Chief Physician to the US President. Janet Graeme Travell, MD, became the personal physician to President Kennedy when he was elected in 1960.

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