The experimental treatment U.S. President Donald Trump is receiving following his COVID-19 diagnosis could see him require up to two weeks of further care within the White House should he be discharged from hospital, according to emergency room physician Dr. Calvin Sun.
Sun, a professor in emergency medicine, told the China Global Television Network (CGTN) on Sunday it could be possible for Trump to soon return to the Oval Office, but said there is no “slam dunk” that the drugs he is receiving will lead to a full recovery.
Highlighting the fact that the level of care available to Trump is naturally higher given his important position as the U.S. president, Sun said there are options for the 74-year-old to continue treatment back at the White House.
“We have to first preface that the care that you and I will receive as common citizens will not be exactly the same as what a president of a country would receive. So whether or not he has continuity of care back in the White House where they will set up a clinic inside the Oval Office, that’s well within the possibility to have him continue treatment in that space,” he said.
Speculation around the severity of Trump’s condition has been rife over the past few days, though the president and the official White House physician has insisted he is doing well.
Trump attempted to send out a positive signal by staging an extraordinary outing on Sunday, in which he left his hospital suite in the Walter Reed Medical Center and conducted a brief ‘drive-by’ to wave at his supporters – a move that was widely condemned by medical experts.
The president was given supplemental oxygen on Friday before being flown to hospital, and has since been receiving a series of drugs, including Remdesivir, a COVID-19 drug made by a U.S. biopharmaceutical company, and an experimental antibody cocktail being developed by U.S. drug maker Regeneron.
Doctors also confirmed Trump had been given a dose of dexamethasone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation.
While members of Trump’s medical team have said he is improving and could be considered for discharge as early as Monday, Sun warned that there should be a high level of caution given the untested nature of the experimental treatment he has received so far.
“If he’s on those cocktails, those are things that require at least one or two weeks to be as safe as possible. There’s no slam dunk so far, otherwise we’d be all using it by now,” said Sun.
In a video released on Twitter on Sunday, Trump, who has been repeatedly rebuked for flouting public health guidelines and spreading misinformation on the pandemic, said that he had “learned a lot about COVID” by “really going to school,” as he battled the virus.
Though uncertainty remains about Trump’s health, Sun stressed that every patient has the right to choose their own course of treatment and to determine whether they would like to be discharged.
“Obviously, we also respect patient autonomy, as [one of] the nine core principles [of medical ethics]. And in respecting each patient’s autonomy, they can also elect to leave, whether against medical advice or on their own accord. That’s well within their rights if that’s what the president wants to elect,” he said.
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