Dr. Sean Conley had made news before he stepped to the microphone Saturday outside Walter Reed Medical Center to provide a sunny update on President Trump's battle with COVID-19. In May, the White House physician disclosed that Trump was taking hydroxychloroquine, a treatment that Trump has endorsed while the FDA and other experts have warned it could cause problems in COVID-19 patients. Conley, who followed Dr. Ronny Jackson in the job, wrote at the time that he and his patient had "concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks." Conley said Saturday that Trump is not taking the anti-malaria drug now, the New York Times reports, adding that "we discussed it."
Trump made Conley White House physician in May 2018, after he'd held the "acting" title for two months. Conley, who is from Pennsylvania, went to Notre Dame for undergrad, then graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He's been an emergency doctor for the Navy since 2006, per the Times, the year he graduated. Osteopaths take more of a "whole-person approach to treatment and care," than other doctors, according to the American Osteopathic Association, deciding on treatment with their patients. The doctors, who are fully licensed and can prescribe medication, undergo more training in the body's system of nerves, muscles, and bones. Conley also served as a trauma chief in Afghanistan and directed trauma research at Walter Reed. (Conley was involved in Trump's murky visit to Walter Reed last fall.)