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Phlebitis, Pulmonary Emboli and Presidential Politics: Richard M. Nixon’s Complicated Deep Vein Thrombosis

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In September of 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency of the United States during an impeachment investigation concerning the Watergate Affair. One month after his resignation, the former President had an exacerbation of his chronic deep vein thrombosis. He also received a Presidential pardon from Gerald Ford on the same day that his recurrent deep vein thrombosis was diagnosed. The political, legal, and medical events that unfolded in the fall of 1974 are the substance of this report. Presidents often receive medical care that stretches the ordinary as a result of their position and the importance of their actions. The events surrounding Richard Nixon’s care for deep vein thrombosis and its complications were not unusual for Presidential health care but were closely intertwined with the legal proceedings during the prosecution of the Watergate defendants.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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