Here is my article that recently ran on http://www.hnn.us/.
Some people think that this is a snipe at Dr. Bruenn and that I am trying to demean his reputation. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Howard Gerald Bruenn was a doctor's doctor and, by all reports. a superb and cutting-edge cardiologist at the the time the specialty was in its infancy. It was for this reason that he came to the attention of Ross Mcintire, who entrusted him above all others with the health of the world's most important patient. I have previously publicly and vigorously defended Ross McIntire, who has been villified as a liar, an incompetent and even a "medical ignoramus" (by the highly regarded historian, Thomas Fleming) in an article I wrote for Navy Medicine.
That Howard Bruenn fell under the spell of the most charismatic person of the 20th century is not surprising. He lived with the man for over a year and professed to Daisy Suckley on March 31st 1945, a mere two weeks prior to FDR's death:
“Miss Suckley, to begin with, you realize that like all people who work with this man – I love him. If he told me to jump out of the window, I would do it, without hesitation.”
Bruenn's role as keeper of FDR's deadly secret goes to the larger question that has been and will be debated in the future: the role of a presidential physician to balance the confidentiality of his patient and the welfare of his country. When Roosevelt was alive, it came straight from the top and after he died, both Mcintire and Bruenn's loyalty remained with FDR's wishes.
If I had cardiac disease, I could only hope to find a personal physician with the competence and ethics of Howard Bruenn. To expose the truth about FDR, and he surely could have done it, was against all that Howard Bruenn was about- the loyalty, competence and ethics of the medical profession that, quite frankly, only a well trained physician can fully appreciate.
I recently had lunch with an internist who practiced with Bruenn for many years, who told me his work was always scrupulously documented and meticulously comprehensive. Not at all surprising for one of America's best clinical cardiologists.