As President Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for the coronavirus, one doctor is at the center of his treatment: Sean P. Conley, the White House physician.
Stepping out of the hospital with a team of doctors behind him on Saturday, Dr. Conley gave an optimistic update on Mr. Trump’s condition at a news conference. He said the president was “doing very well” and in “exceptionally good spirits” after spending Friday night at the hospital.
The news conference put a national spotlight on Dr. Conley, who offered a distinctly different outlook from what Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters later.
Here’s what we know about Dr. Conley.
He became the president’s physician two years ago
Dr. Conley took on the role of White House physician in 2018 after Dr. Ronny L. Jackson was nominated to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Jackson had to withdraw his name from consideration for that post amid accusations of inappropriate workplace behavior and was subsequently promoted by Mr. Trump to the position of assistant to the president and chief White House medical adviser. He is now running for a House seat in Texas.
In March 2018, Dr. Conley was named acting White House physician, and he was officially appointed to the position by Mr. Trump in May 2018.
He is a doctor of osteopathic medicine
Dr. Conley graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2006, according to records from the Virginia Board of Medicine.
While their training is similar, doctors of osteopathic medicine, or D.O.s, differ from traditional medical doctors in that they are trained to look at the body and its care holistically rather than prescribing medicine for specific symptoms or illnesses.
Osteopathic doctors are required to complete additional coursework to understand how the body’s bones, muscles and nerves affect overall functioning and health and sometimes use manual techniques for diagnosis and treatment, such as applying pressure to or stretching out joints and muscles. They can also prescribe medicine.
Dr. Conley, who received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Notre Dame, has served as an emergency doctor for the U.S. Navy since 2006.
A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Conley completed his residency at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va., in 2013. After his residency, Dr. Conley served as chief of trauma for the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Afghanistan.
He served as director of the medical center’s Combat Trauma Research Group for a little over two years.
He supported Mr. Trump’s taking hydroxychloroquine
In May, Dr. Conley gained attention after revealing that Mr. Trump had started taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, while under his care.
Many experts have questioned the drug’s effectiveness in treating, preventing or curing Covid-19 despite claims from Mr. Trump.
In a letter in May discussing Mr. Trump’s use of hydroxychloroquine, Dr. Conley said he and the president had “concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”
At the news conference on Saturday, Dr. Conley told reporters that Mr. Trump was not taking hydroxychloroquine.
“We discussed it,” Dr. Conley said. “He asked about it. He’s not on it now.”