‘I couldn’t be president of my cat when I was on Dexamethasone’: Professor doubts Trump’s ability to lead while on steroid treatment for coronavirus

James Crump
·4-min read
This White House handout photo released 4 October 2020 shows US president Donald Trump working in the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland on 3 October 2020, after testing positive for Covid-19 ((AFP photo /The White House/Joyce N. Boghosian/Handout))
This White House handout photo released 4 October 2020 shows US president Donald Trump working in the Presidential Suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland on 3 October 2020, after testing positive for Covid-19 ((AFP photo /The White House/Joyce N. Boghosian/Handout))

A law professor who was previously treated with the anti-inflammatory medication dexamethasone has claimed that president Donald Trump should be “incapacitated” after being administered the drug during his coronavirus treatment.

Mr Trump was hospitalised at the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Friday evening as a precaution, after he showed symptoms for coronavirus following a positive Covid-19 test result a few hours earlier.

Over the weekend, the medical team at the hospital administered the president with dexamethasone, as part of his treatment for Covid-19.

Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford University, tweeted on Sunday evening that Mr Trump would be unable to lead the country after taking the drug.

“I was treated with dexamethasone following brain surgery. It is (as my team told me) a drug that seriously messes with your mind. It is a bad drug. I could not wait to get off it.

“Unfortunately you have to wean off which takes time. Trump is incapacitated,” she tweeted on Sunday.

Ms Dauber added in a follow-up tweet: “I couldn't be president of my cat when I was on dexamethasone.

“He should not be exercising the powers of the office of president on that drug. We are lucky if he doesn't start a war. He's incapacitated.”

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that has been used during the pandemic to help treat a limited amount of coronavirus patients. One study suggested that it reduced the risk of death among ventilated Covid-19 patients by around 33 per cent, according to Newsweek.

The treatment, which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for widespread use, has been recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for hospitalised coronavirus patients, who are being treated with ventilators or are requiring oxygen.

The NIH website lists several side effects of the drug, including psychiatric effects, infections and dangerous levels of sugar in the patient's blood.

Mr Trump’s personal physician, Dr Sean Conley, has repeatedly played down the seriousness of the president’s symptoms in the last few days, and MSNBC’s medical correspondent Dr John Torres said on Sunday that the president being administered dexamethasone is a sign that his case is more severe than he has told the US public.

“The fact they start him on dexamethasone is to me a big red flag that there's a little bit more going on here then we're hearing about,” he said.

“To me, one of the more concerning things is to see if they start him on dexamethasone, because once they start him on dexamethasone it means his symptoms are more than mild or moderate,” the doctor added.

After nearly two days in the facility, president Trump was driven around outside the medical centre by his protective detail on Sunday evening, as he waved to his supporters who had waited for him since his admission to the hospital.

Pictured in the vehicle with Mr Trump were two members of his protective detail wearing face masks and eye protection, while the president was also seen with a face covering in the backseat of the car.

In a later tweet, Ms Dauber criticised the short trip, and claimed that the president’s decision was possibly a “symptom” of dexamethasone.

She tweeted: “I think the drive by thing he just did is potentially a symptom of dexamethasone. In addition to warning of mood changes my surgeon told me it makes you feel like I could bike up Mt. Tam or run a marathon right after brain surgery when I still had staples in my head.”

Speaking to reporters following Mr Trump’s drive, White House spokesman Judd Deere defended the trip, and said it “was cleared by the medical team as safe.”

According to Newsweek, the president is expected to leave the medical centre in the next few days, and a decision on when he will return to the White House could be made as soon as Monday evening.

The Independent has contacted the White House for comment.

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