Sanders Refuses to Release Full Medical Records

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
February 19, 2020Updated: February 19, 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the top contenders in the Democratic presidential race, said he will not release any more medical records despite concerns about his recent heart attack and health history.

Pressed on whether he’d release more information, Sanders told a CNN town hall on Tuesday night that three letters from doctors his campaign made public late last year were enough.

“We have released, I think … quite as much as any other candidate has,” Sanders said.

Two of the letters were from cardiologists and full of details, he said. The other was from from the head of the U.S. Congress medical group.

“So I think we have released a detailed report, and I’m comfortable with what we have done,” he said. “If you think I’m not in good health come on out with me on the campaign trail and I’ll let you introduce me to the three or four rallies a day that we do.”

The stance marked a change from last year, when Sanders said: “The people do have a right to know about the health of a senator, somebody who’s running for president of the United States—full disclosure.”

bloomberg makes debate
Former New York City mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington on Jan. 22, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump
President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump speaks before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb 16, 2020. (Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Sanders campaign press secretary Briahna Joy Gray added on CNN Wednesday morning that the push to get Sanders to release medical records “is really reminiscent of some of the smear, some of the skepticism campaigns that have been run against a lot of different candidates in the past.”

Sanders, 78, is the oldest contender for the Democratic nomination, though several rivals are 70—Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—or older—Michael Bloomberg just turned 78 and Joe Biden are 77. President Donald Trump is 73.

Sanders suffered a heart attack in early October. Doctors inserted two stents to open a blocked artery in his heart. Sanders spent a few days in the hospital and returned to the campaign trail after resting for several additional days. “I’m healthy. I’m feeling great,” he said at the Oct. 15 Democratic presidential debate.

The Sanders campaign released the three letters in late December 2019. “You are in good health currently and you have been engaging vigorously in the rigors of your campaign, travel and other scheduled activities without any limitation,” Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, wrote in one of them.

“Mr. Sanders is more than fit enough to pursue vigorous activities and an occupation that requires stamina and an ability to handle a great deal of stress,” added Dr. Philip Ades, director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Vermont Medical Center, where Sanders was tested in mid-December.

The medical information showed that Sanders has in the past dealt with a variety of health issues, including gout, lumbar strain, and diverticulitis, or infected or inflamed pouches in the intestines.

Epoch Times Photo
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participates in an event in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 16, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Feb. 18, 2020. (Matt York/AP Photo)

Sanders takes atorvastatin, aspirin, clopidogrel, levothyroxine, and lisinopril on a daily basis, the records showed.

Biden, the former vice president, released a doctor’s report that same month. His doctor, Kevin O’Connor, stated that Biden “is a healthy, vigorous 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency, to include those as chief executive, head of state, and commander in chief,” though that conclusion was disputed by another doctor.

Bloomberg also released a doctor’s letter in late 2019. Dr. Stephen Sisson said Bloomberg is “in outstanding health” and “great physical shape.”

“He exercises several times a week and plays golf avidly,” Dr. Sisson wrote. “There are no medical concerns, present or looming, that would prevent him from serving as President of the United States.”

And medical records the Warren campaign released in December 2019 included a doctor, Dr. Beverly Woo, saying the candidate “is in excellent health and has been throughout the 20 years I have served as her physician.”

Warren has “no medical conditions or health problems that would keep her from fulfilling the duties of the President of the United States,” Woo wrote.

A month earlier, the White House released a memo from a doctor’s visit Trump had, saying a full summary of results from the visit would be included in a health report released in 2020.