A Presidential Dilemma: Rationalizing Irrational Behavior

Our illustrious President, in his continuing quest for a magic wand to end the devastation from SARS-CoV-2, made a shocking statement. When someone who makes shocking statements as a matter of habit says something to rouse great consternation across an entire spectrum of political beliefs it is quite an accomplishment.

Mr. Trump announced he was taking Hydroxychloroquine in combination with other drugs as a preventative treatment for SARS-CoV-2. He claimed—without actual evidence, but that goes without saying—that thousands of front-line medical personnel were doing the same. Somehow that statement rang hollow.

Mr. Trump is the king of sui generis hyperbole and prevarication. But I needed to do more research to see if I could uncover some justification for this course of action by the President. A risk-averse President can do much damage to our country, risk comes with the job. But a President who would ignore risks in pursuit of a political gain is infinitely more dangerous.

To further educate myself on the risks and benefits associated with this drug, I sought medical experts. I asked three respected physicians, with decades of experience, when it is appropriate to prescribe such a treatment regimen.

Their response did not quell my concern for this matter of grave consequence to the country. I asked these doctors in separate emails, none were aware I was asking other physicians. Their responses were strikingly similar.

The bottom line:

There remains little evidence to support the use of Hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 (emphasis mine).

The only real prophylaxis (preventative use) of Hydroxychloroquine is for malaria.

It is used for the treatment and maintenance of Lupus and refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not really prophylaxis.

There are lots of side effects of this drug:

Cardiac Arrhythmias
Visual changes, visual field defects/retinopathy (irreversible)
Liver dysfunction
Blood dyscrasia & anemia
Muscular weakness; Neuromuscular dysfunction / Seizures
Weight Loss
Severe hypoglycemia
Renal impairment.

Here’s my personal favorite. One of the side effects of Hydroxychloroquine is potential changes in emotional lability.

Emotional lability means a person may have sudden and exaggerated changes in mood, with poorly controlled powerful emotions that may include anger, dysphoria, sadness, or euphoria. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

Other psychiatric or nervous system side effects include nervousness, irritability, nightmares, psychosis, and suicidal behavior.

Look them up for yourself https://www.drugs.com/hydroxychloroquine.html

And here’s a link to a site being touted as a definitive answer that the drug is effective. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16115318. The drug shows promise, but that is a long way from widespread safe acceptance as a valid medical treatment. From this study comes the following language in regards to treatment of SARS-CoV-2,

“No effective prophylactic or post-exposure therapy is currently available.” 

Using a bit of logical deduction, a dash of the Socratic method, and tricks I learned to interpret my daughter’s facial expressions before she learned to speak—some were more obvious than others— I can deduce three possible circumstances prompting Mr. Trump’s pronouncement.

  1. He is lying about taking the drug—history may support this conclusion—and is doing this out of some warped sense of “reassuring” the country that a miracle is just around the corner.
  2. He is taking the drug because he has tested positive for the virus and, out a similar warped sense of reassuring the country, has chosen to keep this a secret. Perhaps he fears a corollary conclusion that if he can’t protect himself from the virus, what chance do we mere mortals stand?
  3. He is taking the drug and does not have the virus. This is the most troubling. He is risking serious side-effects based on, at best, isolated anecdotal reports of the drug’s effectiveness or, at worst, he is delusional, which the drug may compound.

Perhaps the cabinet and VP might want to familiarize themselves with the 25th Amendment again just in case.  Doubt me? Review the side-effects of taking the drug.  One should stand out.

Alopecia: Male pattern baldness. It causes the hair to fall out in patches.  If the President is taking the drug without a valid medical need, he must have skipped over that side-effect. Maybe it was in the Presidential Daily Briefing he enjoys NOT reading.

I mean, there is no one on the planet more fixated on his hair than POTUS. If that mop of hair started to fall out in clumps it could foul the engines on Air Force One. If it were in his power he would silence the wind whenever he emerges from the White House to attend his Nuremberg-style rallies.

If we see a new Cabinet position—someone standing right behind Mr. Trump with a fishing net to catch the clumps falling out—we will have our answer. The last thing this country needs at the moment, to borrow a line from Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, is a President afflicted with “serious mental diseases suffering endemic plagues of delusion and obsession.”

It’s not magic we need or wishful thinking. It’s deliberate, managed, and thoughtful dedication to finding a medically sound solution coupled with a considered approach to reopening the country.

Somehow a President promoting the use of a drug contrary to all medically acceptable standards does not lend itself to improving the confidence in his administration.

A drug-addled Mr. Trump is the stuff of nightmares.

(P.S. maybe we should let the President see this study out of Canada. https://thesource.com/2020/05/18/new-canadian-study-says-marijuana-may-prevent-the-coronavirus/)


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