[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 17, 1980

Presidential Courage

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago


by John B. Moses and Wilbur Cross, 249 pp, with illus, $11.95, New York, WW Norton & Co, 1980.

JAMA. 1980;244(16):1846. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310160058036

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In this world of fragile political relationships, it sometimes seems as if every sneeze or sniffle from a President of the United States is cause for a news bulletin and a shockwave through Wall Street.

Not only is such reporting about the President's health virtually instantaneous, but in recent years it also has gone into increasingly intimate detail. The public now reads and hears accounts of Presidential anatomical and physiological functions (or malfunctions) that Chief Executives of the past probably did not even admit to themselves, much less to everyone else in the world.

In fact, quite the opposite used to be true. Perhaps the most famous example is the secret surgery aboard a yacht in New York's East River 87 years ago, during which a verrucous carcinoma was removed from President Grover Cleveland's upper jaw. The press was suspicious, but the full story was not revealed until 20 years