On Tuesday, Harold Bornstein, a Manhattan gastroenterologist who used to be Donald Trump’s doctor, raised eyebrows when told CNN his office had been “raided” by Trump’s personal bodyguard turned White House aide Keith Schiller and others, who seized Trump’s medical records. He added that Trump had dictated the letter that Bornstein released before the election, claiming that Trump’s “physical strength and stamina are extraordinary… if elected, Mr. Trump, I can say unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Here’s what you need to know.
1. Harold Bornstein had treated Trump since 1980
Harold Bornstein was Trump’s physician for 36 years, until Trump entered the White House. Bornstein’s father was Trump’s doctor before that. A graduate of Tufts University Medical School, Bornstein asked the New York Times for donations to the school in exchange for interviews in February 2017 and this week. The Times declined. Bornstein did the interviews anyway.
2. Bornstein and Trump fell out after an interview Bornstein gave
On Feb. 1, 2017, Harold Bornstein did an interview with the New York Times in which he said Trump was taking finasteride, a hair-loss drug. “He has all his hair,” said Bornstein. “I have all my hair.” Bornstein boasted that he had “every phone number for him and all the wives,” who were also his patients, and that a germaphobic Trump “changes the paper on the table himself” after exams. It was after that, Bornstein said, that Trump severed ties and his office was “raided” by Schiller, a Trump lawyer and an unidentified third man on Feb. 3, 2017. It a double blow to Schiller, who had designs on the White House Physician job.
3. Bornstein is “frightened and sad”
“I feel raped — that’s how I feel,” Harold Bornstein told the Los Angeles Times yesterday. “Raped, frightened and sad. I couldn’t believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important. And it certainly is not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What’s the matter with that?”
4. He may be in a heap of trouble
Pick your ethical lapse: Bornstein falsified claims about then-candidate Trump’s health before the election, then divulged confidential patient information after it. “Under the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics, conduct that fails to meet the standard of care has the potential to be a violation,” writes Elura Nanos at Law & Crime. “If signing off on a questionable bill of health doesn’t count as ‘failure to meet the standard of care,’ I’m not quite sure what does.”
Bornstein’s actions could also constitute medical malpractice, but it’s unclear who would have standing to sue over it. If Trump did, he would risk further unflattering details coming to light during discovery.
5. Harold Bornstein’s online reviews are not bad!
Although the unkempt, syntactically offbeat Bornstein isn’t his own best advertising in TV interviews, his online reviews are not bad. He has a 3.7 average rating on Vitals (out of 5, with 45 votes) and a 3.7 on Healthgrades (also out of 5, with 45 votes). His WebMD average is lower: 2.9 on the same scale.
But it’s unclear how much those ratings fluctuated since the physician’s disclosure; as America has learned, any documentation involving Bornstein warrants skepticism.