In the extensive article devoted to our book “FDR’s Deadly Secret” (Science Times, January 5th), Lawrence K. Altman implies that we may not have adequately “fact-checked”. The case we have laid out is a result of four years of painstaking research. It is the consummation of the prevailing opinions of hundreds of highly trained physicians, across many disciplines, to whom we have presented our findings at many of America’s finest institutions of medicine including Harvard, Columbia, Mount Sinai, SUNY Albany and in the inaugural lecture of The Surgeon General’s Lecture Series at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center.
As to melanoma, we consulted with the “legendary” Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman (as the Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology called him on the occasion of his 70th birthday) with whom I co-authored a paper in Archives of Dermatology after we examined many hundreds of photographs at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park. In their abstract, the editors of this esteemed publication wrote “the lesion, when fully developed most closely resembled a melanoma with central regression”. This is reflective of the degree of care and high level of expertise utilized in all of the material presented.
Nor are all of our findings speculative. That Roosevelt suffered a near-fatal gastrointestinal bleed in 1941 requiring at least nine previously unreported transfusions over two months is an absolute certainty. That he suffered frequent and clinically evident seizures for over a year before his death goes well beyond any reasonable doubt and the evidence presented that presidential cardiologist Howard Bruenn’s 1970 paper is less than an unimpeachable or unbiased source is overwhelming.
As my colleagues in the top echelon of the various specialties that deal with the panoply of pathology that FDR manifested publicly weigh in, it will provide even more reinforcement that our findings are consistent with the highest levels of present-day medical reasoning.
Our book unequivocally states that we cannot prove our hypothesis with absolute certainty absent the presence of tissue or medical records. This does not, though, require that we continually qualify every observation and statement as we present it. We hope that those who offer future critique will do so only after thoroughly reading the entirety of what we have presented, in both the book and our blog www.fdrsdeadlysecret.blogspot.com, the latter containing a wealth of corroborative and supplementary photos, videos and documents that we were unable to include in our original thesis.
“FDR’s Deadly Secret” is, by any measure, the most comprehensive discussion of the health of our thirty-second president. The enhanced knowledge of the facts of FDR’s health that we provide will permit historians to more accurately assess this highly-important and often controversial American persona.
Steven Lomazow, M.D.