Let’s begin with what we know about the president’s vital signs, which are called “vital” for a reason. They are the single most important descriptor of how patients are doing. It’s also not enough to have one set of vitals, but to see trends. When doctors and nurses do rounds in the hospital, we pore over charts of all of the patient’s vitals during the past 24 hours.
We don’t have these numbers for Trump. During Saturday’s news conference, Conley described his patient’s vitals as “great.” Less than an hour later, an anonymous source (later identified as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows) said that the president’s vital signs had been “very concerning.” If both are true, then that in itself is worrisome: It points to a changing clinical picture that must be closely followed.
In particular, we need to be watchful of the president’s respiratory status. In many