FDR's Deadly Secret

FDR's Deadly Secret

Book - 2009
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The death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945 sent shock waves around the world. His lifelong physician swore that the president had always been a picture of health. Later, in 1970, Roosevelt's cardiologist admitted he had been suffering from uncontrolled hypertension and that his death-from a cerebral hemorrhage-was "a cataclysmic event waiting to happen." But even this was a carefully constructed deceit, one that began in the 1930s and became acutely necessaryas America approached war.In this great medical detective story and narrative of a presidential cover-up, an exhaustive study of all available reports of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's health, and a comprehensive review of thousands of photographs, an intrepid physician-journalist team reveals that Roosevelt at his death suffered from melanoma, a skin cancer that had spread to his brain and abdomen. Roosevelt's condition was not only physically disabling, but also could have affected substantially his mental function and his ability to make decisions in the days when the nation was imperiled by World War II.
Publisher: New York, NY : PublicAffairs, [2009], ©2009
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781586487447
Branch Call Number: 921 Roose
Description: x, 276 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Fettmann, Eric


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Jul 30, 2017

The author chronicles FDR's medical issues during the later years of his presidency. We learn that FDR nearly died of congestive heart failure in the spring of 1944 and was 'brought back to life' by a Navy heart specialist, Dr. Bruenn, who attended to FDR on a daily basis until his fatal cerebral hemorrhage 12 April 1945. All this was kept secret from the public until Dr. Bruenn confirmed FDR's heart disease in a journal article published in 1970. However, heart disease was not the "deadly secret" that Dr. Lomazow writes about in his book. Instead, he focuses on a dark mole above FDR's left eyebrow that first appeared around 1920 and slowly grew until it mysteriously disappeared in 1941. Lomazow suggests the mole was a melanoma and that it metastasized to FDR's abdomen and to his brain. He suggests FDR's massive blood loss from his colon that required transfusions in 1941 and his disastrous address to Congress on the Yalta Conference March 1, 1945, where he repeatedly lost his place and had to ad lib, were consequences of the metastasis of this cancer. FDR's medical records disappeared after his death and so we will likely never know the truth. However, we do have the accounts of several physicians who attended to FDR's various ailments and none mention cancer. On record FDR's anemia and need for blood transfusions in 1941 are explained as bleeding hemorrhoids. If the blood loss were due to cancer FDR would have needed major abdominal surgery, of which there is no evidence. FDR's difficulty reading text on the left side of the page during his Yalta address could as easily be explained as a result of a minor stroke instead of brain cancer. Dr. Lomazow takes us on an interesting speculative trip into FDR's health, but I conclude it is mostly improbable speculation.

May 16, 2014

The authors have produced an extremely important book that raises questions of presidential accountability that remain unanswered today. Their work is meticulously researched and their conclusions fair, balanced and well-reasoned. It is hard to fathom how a life so completely and comprehensively examined as FDR's can still yield startling secrets nearly 70 years after his death. This work sheds an entirely new light on the character and motivations of FDR, as well as those of his inner circle of advisers and family. There is much here to ignite new debates of about how much the American people should know about their President's health and at what point that person should be considered incapacitated and how that determination should be made and - then what? A fascinating, well-written and apolitical book. Most highly recommended.


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