JFK GETS GOOD REPORT ON PHYSICAL EXAM IN SPITE OF BAD BACK
West Palm Beach, Florida (JFK+50)Fifty-five years ago today, December 27, 1961, President John F. Kennedy underwent a physical examination while on vacation at his father's estate here in West Palm Beach.
The official report said that the President was "in excellent general health except for his back." It went on to say that his back problems had improved.
Dr. Preston Wade, a New York specialist, said that JFK had made substantial progress in strengthening his back over the previous 2 1/2 months through exercise.
The President had also taken injections, worn a corset and a shoe lift, and used a rocking chair to relieve his "aching back."
James G. Blight published an article in THE NEW STATEMAN* which makes the argument that John F. Kennedy's greatest asset as a decision-maker came from...
"the way he dealt with his physical weakness, and the conclusions he drew from the inability of the top doctors of his time to...successfully treat his array of physical maladies."
It is widely known today that JFK may well have been one of the most unhealthy men to hold the office of POTUS. As. James Blight points out, Mr. Kennedy was given the Last Rites of the Roman Catholic Church on "at least four occasions."
Despite the healthy image JFK projected from 1961 to 1963, the world was generally aware that he suffered from back pain and while the press refrained from publishing photographs of the President during the times he had to resort to the use of crutches, they did not attempt to cover up his back issues.
One reporter even went so far to ask at a news conference...
"Mr. President, how is your aching back?"
President Kennedy responded in his characteristic self-effacing manner...
"It depends on the weather, political and otherwise."
"Acts of agony," by James G. Blight, The New Statesman, August 7, 2013, www.newstatesman.com/