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ARIZONA: Behind the scenes with a former chief White House physician

The president is a VIP, a “Very Intimidating Patient,” said Dr. Mariano, who now is a physician in a concierge medical service she founded in Scottsdale, Ariz. From the sound of laughter, the audience enjoyed her definition of a VIP as “any patient who induces tachycardia in the physician.”

By Kathleen Louden / Special Correspondent

A tourist who fainted in the White House could not believe that Eleanor “Connie” Mariano, MD, was the White House physician. She kept asking if Dr. Mariano was the nurse, and when the male White House nurse came, the woman thought he was the doctor.

Dr. Mariano, who was the first woman in the military appointed chief White House physician, recounts this story in her memoir, The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents.

As OMED’s final keynote speaker, Dr. Mariano described her remarkable career on Wednesday. For nine years, she was the personal physician to three presidents—George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—as well as to their families and staffs.

“People always looked at me as not being mainstream, and it made me strive harder,” said Dr. Mariano, who also was the first Filipino-American to reach the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

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