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16 people who shaped the 2016 election: Dr. Harold Bornstein

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By Nov. 9, the votes will have been cast and counted, there will be a winner and a loser, and the country will begin a slow return to normal. Historians will have their say on the outcome, but all of us who have lived through this election will carry away indelible memories of a shocking year in American history: of a handful of ordinary people, swept up in the rush of history; of a series of moments on which the fate of the nation seemed, at least briefly, to turn; and of places on the map that became symbols of a divided nation. As we count down to Election Day, Yahoo News has identified 16 unforgettable people, moments and places.

For most of his life, Dr. Harold Bornstein practiced gastroenterology at a Park Avenue office that he shared with his father, Jacob Bornstein, who died in 2010. His sole brush with fame came in December 2015, when his patient, Donald Trump, released a one-page statement about his physical condition signed by Bornstein.

The letter, which for most of a year was the only information the world had about Trump’s health, described an Adonis whose “strength and physical stamina are extraordinary” with “extraordinarily excellent” laboratory test results. It concluded with a statement that is the definition of “uncheckable”: “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

It didn’t take long for commentators, including other physicians, to point out that Bornstein’s language seemed to borrow more from the vocabulary of Trump’s world of high-end real estate than that of medicine. His last physical exam “showed only positive results,” Bornstein wrote, a phrase that might work in a marketing brochure but is less than meaningless coming from a doctor; “positive results” typically means the patient tested positive for something he probably doesn’t want to have.

Little more was heard about Bornstein until August, when Trump’s health became a campaign issue in light of his insinuations that Hillary Clinton wasn’t physically up to the presidency. In a brief but somewhat unsettling interview with NBC, Bornstein disclosed that he had written the letter in five minutes, while a messenger sent by Trump waited outside his office. “His health is excellent, especially his mental health,” Bornstein affirmed about Trump. Asked about his retroactive assessment of the health of the previous 43 presidents, Bornstein replied, unconvincingly: “I like that sentence, to be quite honest with you, and all the rest of them are either sick or dead.”

In September, as pressure mounted on both candidates to be more forthcoming about their health, Bornstein released another letter, which Trump discussed with the television personality Dr. Oz. This gave additional details of Trump’s condition, including his blood pressure (116/70), his LDL cholesterol (94) and his testosterone (441.6), but it raised some eyebrows by reporting his height as 6’3”. Most other sources over the years have said he’s 6’2”. Folk wisdom, supported by a smattering of research, holds that the taller candidate usually wins the presidency, but Trump doesn’t need an extra inch to be taller than Clinton.

He does, however, need it to bring his body-mass index, at a reported weight of 236, down to 29.5, which is just below the threshold for being considered obese. And we know how Trump feels about fat people. — By Jerry Adler

Donald Trump would be ‘the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,’ his doctor says
Dr. Harold Bornstein — Trump’s physician — issued a press release touting the Republican frontrunner’s “extraordinary” fitness and longevity. >>>

Here’s what Donald Trump revealed about his health on ‘Dr. Oz’
On the show, Trump, who is 70 years old, handed show host Mehmet Oz two pieces of paper — one a report from his recent physical and the other a letter from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “Those are all the tests that were just done last week,” Trump said. >>>

Bornstein’s press release on Trump’s health
“Over the past 39 years, I am pleased to report that Mr. Trump has had no significant medical problems.” Click to read the full press release. >>>

Bornstein’s letter on Trump’s health and medical history
“Mr. Trump is in excellent physical health.” Click to read the full text of the letter. >>>