Taft's Place in History
Because of his severe OSA, Taft likely experienced unrelenting mental and physical fatigue each day of his presidency. Fortunately for the nation, these burdens did not unbalance him. He adhered to his bedrock principle of reverence for the law and made significant accomplishments during his administration. Unfortunately for Taft, however, his unrecognized sleep apnea probably impaired mental faculties critical for political success and contributed to his political reputation as an inept bungler.
When Taft died in 1930, there was an enormous outpouring of grief and tribute. The public had long forgotten his presidential bumblings, replacing them with admiration and fondness for a man who gave 35 unswervingly honest years to public service. Now, an additional facet of William Howard Taft emerges: his perseverance and ultimate triumph against appetite, obesity, and sleep apnea.
I thank Drs. David Burton, Philip Smith, and Alan Schwartz, as well as Cynthia Du Puy, Jacqueline Parker, Jack Wahlquist, and the staffs of the Stanford University Libraries, the Alan M. Chesney Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the Countway Library of Medicine, the William Howard Taft National Historical Site, and the Library of Congress.Reprint Address
Correspondence to: John G. Sotos, MD, Apneos Corporation, 2033 Ralston Ave, #41, Belmont, CA 94002-1737; e-mail: taft@ apneos.com
CHEST. 2003;124(3) © 2003 American College of Chest Physicians
Cite this: Taft and Pickwick: Sleep Apnea in the White House - Medscape - Sep 01, 2003.